Monterey County Rangers - 2017 NRWMAC Release
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM NRWMAC **updated**
Lake Nacimiento was originally designed to provide irrigation water and flood control, as well as recreation, by Monterey County, which built the 210-foot earth-fill dam to create the reservoir in 1956. Much of the lake water is diverted each month to: 1) Monterey County, to provide irrigation primarily for farmland; 2) municipalities in San Luis Obispo County for their own use, including drinking water, and 3) the Salinas River, where it finds its way, eventually, into the ocean. Although the borders of Lake Nacimiento are entirely within the confines of San Luis Obispo County, the waters are controlled by Monterey County, which, unfortunately, has displayed precious little concern for the economic or social impact that its management of the lake has had, and continues to have, on property owners, visitors and lake enthusiasts.
Because of this, the Nacimiento Regional Water Management Advisory Committee (“NRWMAC”) was organized in 1989 to try to correct some of the problems associated with Monterey County’s management of the lake. NRWMAC holds a seat on the Monterey County Water Resources Agency Reservoir Operation Committee (“Res. Ops.”). This committee meets monthly and advises Monterey County on lake operations, maintenance, and other issues regarding both Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio. At least one NRWMAC Director travels to Salinas to attend this monthly meeting. We have a strong voice on your behalf because of the support and donations that you provide.
NRWMAC wants to alert you to a serious matter, which was revealed to us at the most recent Res. Ops. meeting in Salinas: Monterey County’s stated intention to remove the Rangers from Lake Nacimiento (and Lake San Antonio) as of July 1, 2017, and reassign them exclusively to parks in Monterey County. Their plan is to replace the Rangers with untrained, unarmed, minimum wage, security guards who will have no law enforcement authority. In fact, these security guards will not even be physically on the lake; instead, they will patrol the campground at the resort marina.Contact Monterey Here
In times past, the number of Rangers on both lakes exceeded 30. Over the years, due to budget cuts in Monterey County, that number has been reduced to its current level of eight. It takes a minimum of three Rangers in order to put one Ranger boat on the lake (two Rangers in the boat and one Ranger at the resort marina). With shift coverage and days off, it takes at least seven Rangers in order to keep a boat on the lake.Contact Monterey Here
The Rangers are the only full-time law enforcement authority on the lake. They perform many vital functions, including, but not limited to, the following: Citing and arresting intoxicated boaters; citing reckless boaters; performing Quagga mussel permit inspections and citing violators; maintaining center line channel buoys to keep boaters from running aground; being a deterrent to dangerous behavior by their visible presence; providing emergency services in case of a catastrophe like the Chimney Fire, the two drownings last summer, or a boating accident; and providing a deterrent to gang activity, which seems to be spreading.Contact Monterey Here
Monterey County knows both lakes will be very active this year because of the water level. Boaters pay Monterey County $100 per vessel for a yearly lake permit; dock owners pay $60 for each dock. Yet, although Monterey County continues to collect these fees, its current plan is to eliminate the remaining Rangers, and along with them, any hope of real security at the lake.Contact Monterey Here
NRWMAC is working on several action plans to remedy this situation. We have already sent a letter to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, which has the ultimate authority on this issue, insisting that it reconsider the decision to remove the Rangers from the lake or, in the alternative, assign Monterey County Sherif deputies as necessary law enforcement. We have mailed copies of the NRWMAC letter to, among others, Mr. John Peschong, San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors; Ms. Rita Neal, SLO County Counsel; and Mr. Jesse Avila, Monterey County Counsel. We are communicating regularly with other individuals in order to develop strategies in the event our entreaties to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors are ignored. In the meantime we are spreading this message to as many of you as possible.Contact Monterey Here
For more information about NRWMAC and the issues we are working on, such as Quagga mussel control, lake level maintenance and the inter-lake tunnel, please visit our website: http://nrwmac.org but make sure to contact Monterey and let them know your opinion. Contact Monterey Here