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

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