Lake Naci News – September


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Sue St. George
Bob Sutherland
Jennifer Devine
Barry Steinhardt

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On 8-26 there was a very large fire at the mouth to Bryson Hesperia and up New Pleyto Road. It was lucky that Tom and Melodie Shepard were home at the Planett Ranch along with a couple of contractors as they are credited for saving the homes and out structures on the 100 acres out of 2,200 acres of the Planett that did not burn. The fire burned mainly North East due to the prevailing winds and burned up into Hunter Liggett. It burned south as far as the Llama ranch. Below are pictures of the damage.

Area residents are very thankful that no homes were lost! Thank you to all of the neighbors and fireman who worked hard to stop the fire!


San Luis Obispo Tribune 9-10-2009 By Phil Dirkx |

I now see a faint flicker of hope that Nacimiento Lake could escape being overrun with quagga or zebra mussels. But there’s still grave danger that an uninformed lake visitor might launch a boat contaminated with those tiny, foreign shellfish.

It could have happened over the Labor Day weekend.

Quaggas aren’t much bigger than a pat of butter, and zebras are even smaller. Both multiply like flu viruses. In one year, a single female can lay 1 million eggs. The eggs produce shellfish that attach like barnacles onto anything they touch.

They clot in layers on dock timbers and boats and inside pipes. At Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, quagga mussels in one year almost totally blocked all the four-inch gaps between the trash-rack gates that protect the powerhouse intake.

Experts estimate the annual nationwide cost of battling these mussels at$1 billion. If they invade Nacimiento Lake, they might clog the new $176 million Nacimiento pipeline.

Quagga and zebra mussels originated in Eastern Europe. They probably stowed away in the ballast water of seagoing freighters that visit the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway. From the Great Lakes, the tiny invaders spread far and wide. Nobody has learned how to eradicate them.

They’re now on the move in California, within 200 miles of us to the south and within 100 miles to the north. Still, a news story from Salinas gives me hope.

The Monterey County Herald reported last week that Monterey County staff people are preparing a plan for defending Nacimiento and San Antonio lakes from the invasive shellfish. The plan would include inspecting boats being launched at each lake.

It will be complicated and expensive, especially at Nacimiento Lake, which belongs to Monterey County but is entirely in San Luis Obispo County. All San Antonio lakeshore property is owned by Monterey County, but most Nacimiento lakeshore property is privately owned.

Bill Phillips is deputy general manager of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency. He said his county controls all the San Antonio Lake launching points. But Nacimiento Lake has 60 launching points, of which his county controls only two.

Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties both have vital interests at Nacimiento Lake. Monterey County owns Nacimiento Dam and the hydroelectric plant below it, as well as the marina and campground. San Luis Obispo County is building the Nacimiento pipeline project.

Carolyn Berg, Nacimiento Project engineer, said the two counties plan a meeting next month to discuss the quagga/zebra threat. Phillips said the goal is to have a protection plan ready by next summer.

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