The City of Winters Fights Back

On October 19, 2004, the City Council of Lake Berryessa’s sister city, Winters, unanimously passed a resolution criticizing the Bureau of Reclamation’s proposed plans for Lake Berryessa. It was  so accurately prescient in its concerns, especially Sections 4 and 5. Ironically, our stated efforts to “Preserve the Best, Improve the Rest.” of Lake Berryessa received no support from Napa County, any Napa city, nor our own Congressman. And Reclamation clearly ignored the concerns of the City of Winters.



BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Winters as follows:

WHEREAS, the Bureau of Reclamation are currently pursuing a Re-Use Plan for Lake Berryessa which serves as a main attraction and economic center for the City of Winters; and

WHEREAS, the City relies on the activity in an around the Lake to provide jobs and tax revenues to help subsidize the local economy and City operations; and

WHEREAS, the critical link between Winters and Lake Berryessa has been in existence since the original construction of the Monticello Dam; and

WHEREAS, under the re-use proposals, significant changes may occur which will significantly change the use of the Lake and the positive fiscal impacts to the City of Winters; and

WHEREAS, the City Council now wishes to express our concerns on the most important concerns and impacts to the Winters Community.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of

Winters that the City declares as follows:

·      Section 1. Closure of the southerly concession areas (Markley/Pleasure Cove’s) (partially or fully), even for renovation for an extended period could pose a serious economic impact to lake serving businesses. The City receives a significant amount of our sales tax from boaters passing to and from Markley Cove.

·      Section 2. The projected re-use of the areas, including reduction of day boaters and motorized craft from the Cove’s would provide for a considerable loss of local business to the Winters community. As described, the use of Berryessa would change to a greater houseboat and non-motorized use versus the current mix.

·      Section 3 The proposed uses for these areas would change from a mostly year-round to seasonal, thus reducing revenues to Winters for prolonged periods.

·      Section 4. Risk of single operator of an area the size of Lake Berryessa with the described multitude of uses. The selection of a single operator is inherently a significant risk because of the potential for failure.

·      Section 5. The lack of a phased approach by canceling all existing contracts within a two year period could create a catastrophic situation in the event that plans are not available for a transition of control and Lake management for users.

·      Section 6. Effects on citizens of Winters who extensively utilize Lake Berryessa.

·      Section 7 Under the current plan, it appears unlikely that the local operators could be as competitive as larger corporate operators in gaining the re-bid concession contracts. There is considerable uncertainty and probability that local operators could be required to remove existing facilities while a new operator installs new. This transition of deconstruction and construction could take many years.

·      Section 8. The City currently benefits in our traffic from the boat storage capabilities at Markley Cove. The current plan does not adequately define how this area might be re-used. If less storage is allowed, the City could experience a higher volume of boat transport traffic than currently experienced.

·      Section 9 Local employment- A number of Winters residents are currently employed by the local operators. The uncertainty of re-use and local employment is a concern.

·      Section 10 As proposed, the re-use plan appears to begin the exclusion of many of the current users of the Lake, for a more exclusive and restricted access for non-motorized users.

·      Section 11 the current interpretation of Public Law 93-975 by the Bureau’s seems inherently unfair to the current concessionaires. As adopted, PL 93-975 specifically provided for fair compensation to the concessionaires for improvements made at the facility, in the event that another lease was issued. It appears that under the current plans, these concessionaires would receive no compensation for facilities or improvements, which seems unjust.

·      Section 12 It is the request of the City Council of the City of Winters that the Bureau of Reclamation reconsider the use of Option B as the preferred alternative which includes a combination of multiple concessionaires and a phased implementation/transition of use.

·      Section 13 It is recommended that the Bureau consider other options put forth by citizens such as “A+” which recommends that the Bureau undertake a vigorous clean-up program of existing residences and leases to bring into compliance existing rules, ordinances and laws.

·      Section 14 The City Council believes that Reclamation’s DEIS Alternative “B” has not addressed the broad range of concerns of local communities like Winters.  The Council therefore requests that the Bureau of Reclamation open a formal public comment period for the economic analysis of the plan as well as reopen the comment period on the DEIS itself because of the lack of economic data to support the DEIS as proposed.

PASSED AND ADOPTED this 19th day of October, 2004 by the following vote:

AYES: Anderson, Fridae, Stone, Mayor Martinez; NOES: None; ABSENT: Chapman                       © Peter Kilkus 2018