Friday, November 19, 2010

Report from Lake Nighthorse public meeting

Some of my notes from the Campbell Reservoir public meeting on Tuesday, 11/16. Feel free to pass around any additions, clarifications, corrections, etc. 

Highlight of the night: 

Ron and Randy Bodo, the grandsons of Mike Bodo, who homesteaded the basin at the turn of the last century, we present. Roy spoke, and spoke in favor of keeping the lake engine-less (or, at a minimum, a no-wake lake). "We feel the lake is too small for motorboats," Ron Bodo said. He also said they were in favor of keeping the area for day-use only, and that they'd like to see hiking and biking trails.

"We did not want to see this area developed," he said. "We were (when they transferred the land to the CDOW via the Nature Conservancy in 1974) insuring the legacy of good stewardship would carry on."

Key issues:

Park Service representative Joy Lujan explained that a "successful" plan coming from this recreation planning process will have to meet four criteria:

- Publicly acceptable 
- Economically viable 
- Environmentally acceptable 
- Technically feasible

She also noted that depending upon what the management plan ends up allowing, there may need to be a supplemental EIS.

It was re-affirmed by Lujan and BuRec people that whatever plan comes out of this process will be binding to whatever agency or group ends up managing the Lake Nighthorse and surrounding BuRec land.

It was again asserted that the boat ramp funding requires and assures engines on the lake. [But: This is increasingly looking like it's just not so (despite the long-time claims of Jim Isgar, sponsor of the move the got the boat ramp built. (Soon to be named the Isgar National Boat Ramp?)) More will be forthcoming on this issue ... ]

Other interesting tidbits:

A BuRec official said that, even before any withdrawals are made from the reservoir, water levels will fluctuate about five feet per year just from evaporation loss alone. Well, with a surface area of 1,500 feet, that's 7,500 acre-feet of water per year lost to evaporation alone (never mind groudwater seepage). That is enough water for 30,000 people (and heavy water-using people at that).

Access for ATVs, motorcyles, and snowmobiles
are issues that are still on the table.

A representative of the Animas La Plata Association, which manages the water-pumping and control facilities for ALP, stated flatly that "a safe and reliable water supply" is the reservoir's first priority. He said that quaggua mussels are a major threat to those missions, and that the reservoir is prime mussel habitat. He also said gas, oil, and parking lot drainage are a major threat to the reservoir's water quality.

A Coast Guard reservist who works at area reservoirs noted that, bottom line, Lake Nighthorse is too small to safely, or even enjoyably, use speedboats or jet skis. "This is where you can bring your kids and grandkids and not get run over by a powerboat," he said.

The reservoir has already been stocked with 50,000 trout.

Learn more about Lake Nighthorse at the official Lake Nighthorse site, and the (very!) unofficial Silent Nighthorse Wiki

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reminder: Lake Nighthorse public forum Tuesday!

Click to embiggen.
Remember: Tuesday night is the public forum for the Lake Nighthorse (more properly referred to as Campbell Reservoir) recreation management planning process.

5 - 8 p.m. at Needham Elementary School, in Durango. (Click to see a map.)

Here's what the agenda is planned to look like:
The first 30 minutes will include a fact-based presentation by the design team, an explanation of the meeting process and stage setting by Joy Lujan from the National Park Service, brief comments from Bruce Whitehead from ALPWCD, a statement from the Bureau of Reclamation, and a statement from Randy Bodo.

From about 5:30 to 7:30, will be input from the public. People will tell the gathered officials and the audience what their interests, issues, ideas and concerns are by making a statement from a microphone at the front of the room. Visual aids are welcome. 

The final half hour will be an exercise to explore people's interests further. People will be be asked and answers tabulated to general questions like what kinds of recreational uses people engage in now, what their concerns about recreation at the lake, what kinds of recreational uses they might like to see at the lake, etc.
The entire meeting will be video taped.

Learn more about the Lake Nighthorse planning process here.

Find helpful information about Lake Nighthorse here.

See you there!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lake Nighthorse recreation planning process begins

Public meetings have been announced for input on the recreation management plan for the Ridges Basin/Lake Nighthorse (aka Campbell Reservoir, at least around my house).

I spoke with the National Park Service's Joy Lujan, who is organizing the meetings, and some BuRec people at the first open house, and they assured me that the management plan that comes out of this process in the Spring will be a binding plan for whomever ultimately manages the recreation on and around the reservoir.

Click to enlargen. Or visit the official Lake Nighthorse site.

Learn useful info about the project at the Silent Nighthorse Wiki