[env-trinity] Trinity Journal June 6 12 10

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Jun 17 00:02:57 PDT 2010

TC leaders push for low-water access 


 <http://www.trinityjournal.com/images/2010-06-16/004p1.jpg> The Fairview
boat ramp at Trinity Alps Marina Resort was well out of the water when this
picture was taken in mid-February. With inflow to the lake since then, the
ramp currently is usable, although it was out of commission from mid-July
2008 to June 7, 2010, and a narrow dirt, auxiliary ramp was used. KELLI GANT
| SPECIAL TO THE TRINITY JOURNAL The Fairview boat ramp at Trinity Alps
Marina Resort was well out of the water when this picture was taken in
mid-February. With inflow to the lake since then, the ramp currently is
usable, although it was out of commission from mid-July 2008 to June 7,
2010, and a narrow dirt, auxiliary ramp was used. KELLI GANT | SPECIAL TO
THE TRINITY JOURNAL Just get us to the water.

That was the message from a group of North County residents who showed up
Wednesday last week for the quarterly meeting of an advisory group to
Trinity River planners.

After tourist seasons in 2008 and 2009 where only one boat ramp on Trinity
Lake was usable throughout the season - and looking at predicted lake
elevations this year that would have all but one high and dry before the
season has ended - members of the newly formed nonprofit Trinity Lake
Revitalization Alliance are suggesting long-term solutions.

They want to see ramps extended or new ones built to preserve recreation on
the lake during low water years. In some cases, dredging would aid existing
facilities, said Kelli Gant, a member of the alliance.

"Tourism is the lifeblood of our area," Gant said in a presentation to the
Trinity Adaptive Management Working Group, a stakeholder advisory group to
the Trinity River Restoration Program. The river advisory group is made up
of representatives of sports fishing interests, environmental organizations,
river advocacy groups, electricity and water providers, and agencies.

The lake alliance presentation got a sympathetic response. One member of the
advisory group, fishing guide Ed Duggan, noted that his business is based on
what happens below the dam, but businesses above it are important as well.

Low lake levels coupled with the decline in logging have been tough on the
area, Gant said, noting that all of the restaurants have closed.

Water released from Trinity Lake either goes down the Trinity River or is
diverted south to be used for agriculture. Gant said fisheries restoration
is important to Trinity County, and trying to change the Trinity River
Record of Decision which increased river flows is not the answer. The group
is not prepared to take on water contracts, she said.

Instead, she suggested that moving dirt and adding concrete would likely be
a much quicker solution.

Furthermore, she pointed out that the environmental impact statement and
report used in the Trinity River flow decision included mitigation measures
that would reduce the impacts at Trinity and Shasta lakes, including:

. All affected boat ramps should be extended a sufficient distance to
accommodate the new water elevations.

. Marina owners should be compensated for costs associated with moving their
facilities or constructing new facilities as a result of the new water

. Campground facilities should be modified or funding provided to
accommodate the new water elevations.

Gant said the environmental documents were never certified for the
California Environmental Quality Act, and therefore the mitigations are not
mandated. However, the group is asking that the restoration program and
federal Bureau of Reclamation honor the mitigations and work with reservoir
stakeholders and the Forest Service to implement the measures.

In an interview after the meeting, the river advisory group's chair, former
county Sup. Arnold Whitridge, noted that although the environmental
documents were certified under the National Environmental Policy Act, CEQA
certification would have required county action that would have made the
county a target for lawsuits by powerful agricultural interests.

Although many ramps at Trinity Lake are currently in the water and Memorial
Day weekend 2010 was the best business weekend in two years for most
businesses, Gant noted the Trinity Center ramp was not usable from July 30,
2008, until April 20, 2010; KOA Marina has not been usable since August
2008; Cedar Stock ramp was unavailable the entire season of 2008 and 2009;
the Fairview ramp at Trinity Alps Marina Resort was not usable from
mid-July, 2008, to June 7, 2010, although a narrow dirt, auxiliary ramp has
been cut. The Estrellita ramp available in low water was closed by the U.S.
Forest Service. By July and August this year, water level projections
indicate that only Minersville will be available.

"The problem with Minersville - it's kind of like in between nothing," Gant

That's a problem for businesses, said Jaktri Market owner Bernie Berkowitz.

"The economy at Trinity Center is being crushed," said Berkowitz, who noted
that the ramps which can still be used when the lake is low are not near his

He estimates his business is off 50 percent.

The revitalization group also put forward a list of concerns about Forest
Service restrictions on the lake, including restrictions on marina growth
and new marinas, refusal to increase or reissue houseboat permits, and loss
of a CalBoating grant to improve ramps.

Whitridge asked Bureau of Reclamation Area Manager Brian Person if there is
an obligation to implement the mitigation measures, noting that they are
part of the preferred alternative the Trinity River Record of Decision says
to implement.

However, Person responded that a separate funding measure would be needed.

>From the U.S. Forest Service which manages the lake area, Shasta-Trinity
National Recreation Area District Ranger Kristy Cottini said if someone can
get Congress to fund projects the group seeks, "nobody would be happier than

However, she noted that in addition to funding, challenges are presented by
geography and preservation of archeological sites and late successional
reserves. And other agencies are involved as well.

She noted that the $2.5 million grant for work on the Minersville ramp Gant
mentioned was returned because after construction delays due, ironically, to
high water and extended planning, the North Coast Regional Water Quality
Control Board refused to issue another permit. The water board wanted 100
percent control of any petroleum from cars parked on the hard surface below
the high water line, Cottini said, and engineers were unable to come up with
a feasible solution to that.

She added that facilities such as public ramps require a land base for
parking and septic systems, to which Gant said, "Just get us to the water,"
adding that the group is not asking for restrooms, parking - or even more

Whitridge noted that funders often do have requirements, and Gant said the
group is looking beyond funding from CalBoating to other sources.

A stakeholder representative on the river advisory group representing
Trinity County landowners, Rich Lorenz, said that since the restoration
program and river flows are part of the problem for the lake businesses, "it
seems we should support this group."

Whitridge reminded the audience that this is an advisory group: "We
recommend and ask."

Gant responded, "That's the start" and added that the group looks forward to
having a future seat on the advisory group.

Another member of the river advisory group, Tom Weseloh of California Trout,
noted that there is a nexus between the his group's interest in establishing
a "minimum pool" in the lake to keep water cool for fish when it is
released, which would also benefit the lake businesses.

Members of the river advisory group voted to ask that the Trinity Management
Council investigate whether the river flow decision requires the mitigations
noted in the environmental documents, how that mitigation would integrate
with Forest Service management and how it would be funded.

Since last week's meeting, Whitridge said a draft letter is being circulated
and will be delivered in time for the Trinity Management Council's meeting
scheduled for today, June 16.





Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land/fax

415 519 4810 mobile

bwl3 at comcast.net 

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org 



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