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Group studies latest thermal curtain report

M. Kate West
Chester Editor

“The 2009 Level 3 Report from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) lists all the alternatives they are actively pursuing. Except for the baseline, all the alternatives include a thermal curtain,” said Save Lake Almanor chairwoman Wendi Durkin. “The alternatives are everything Save Lake Almanor is against. We do not want the thermal curtain or water removed from Lake Almanor.”

Included among the many reasons the group doesn’t want the alternatives to go forward are the strong potential of damage to the lake and its fisheries.

“Their document reports the same negative concerns as well,” she said.

Durkin said there was a lot of other information in the report that went to decreased production of hydroelectricity from one of the plants on the North Fork Feather River.

“We are not worried as much about electric productivity as we are about our water quality and protecting our fisheries and lake habitat,” she added.

She said while the group’s main concern is Lake Almanor, members have noticed the suggested alternatives would “pretty much destroy Butt Lake.”

Her description of Butt Lake as being very shallow and containing small water storage was accurate with the findings in the Level 3 Report. She said changes to the water flow would impact the dissolved oxygen (which fish need to breathe) and the thermalcline, where the fish live.

Beyond the first steps of reviewing the report, Durkin said the Save Lake Almanor committee would be putting together a case for the SWRCB to sway it from taking cold water from Lake Almanor and installing the thermal curtain.

“It’s very frustrating that the report was completed in 2009 and just released to us. It’s very challenging and frustrating for us to put information together in what might be a short amount of time,” she said.

She said the possibility of the SWRCB Environmental Impact Report being released this spring was the cause of the frustration.

The report is what the committee is talking about at this time.

The Save Lake Almanor effort has been in existence for more than 12 years.

Durkin said anyone who has an interest in being involved with the effort is welcome to contact her at 228-2683.

“We would love to have more people involved,” she said.

As to next steps, the committee is looking at hosting a townhall meeting to advise the public about the Level 3 Report.

“Before we do this we plan to meet with the Project 2105 folks and others so we have a clear picture for clear course of action.

“We want to make sure we save our lake. First and foremost our priority is to save our lake and, by their own words, taking cold water out of it will damage it,” Durkin said.



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