SACRAMENTO, CA- As part of her continued efforts to help her constituents in Lake County, Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) secured $1.88 million in the California State Budget for the Blue Ribbon Committee for the Rehabilitation of Clear Lake (BRC). The funds include $780,000 to the Natural Resources Agency and $1.1 million to the University of California, Davis (UCD) for BRC-approved projects critical to Lake County’s economy, ecosystem, and heritage.
“I am truly grateful for the continued support by Governor Newsom for the rehabilitation of Clear Lake,” said Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. “I commend Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot and the Members of the Committee for their continued dedication toward improving the health of the Lake and the surrounding communities. The work we began with AB 707 in 2017 continues to gather momentum as we work on this critical resource for Lake County and Northern California. My heart is warmed by the local leadership of the BRC. This ongoing effort is the best example of what we can accomplish when state officials work in true collaboration with residents from the local community.”
“We are deeply grateful to Assembly Speaker pro Tempore, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, for her constant support of Lake County’s Natural Resources-focused needs and priorities,” emphasized Eddie Crandell, Lake County Supervisor, District 3 and respected advocate on Natural Resources-focused matters. “As the Author of the Legislation (2017’s AB 707) that created the Blue Ribbon Committee for the Rehabilitation of Clear Lake and our Legislative partner in securing $15M for the land acquisition phase of the Middle Creek Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project, no one has done more to support sustainable environmental quality in Lake County.”
“Thanks to Governor Newsom and our Legislature, new investments of nearly $2 million will be made to improve the health of Clear Lake,” California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said. “These funds build on $3 million of state funding already invested in lake improvements, and this new funding will help deliver more locally designed projects to improve water quality. This marks the third straight year of substantial investment to restore Clear Lake, California’s largest and oldest natural lake.”
“The investments included in the 2023 Budget Act will not only benefit the health of Clear Lake but also improve the habitat for the threatened Clear Lake hitch and the cultural and economic prosperity of the local tribes and community,” California Natural Resources Agency Deputy Secretary for Tribal Affairs Geneva E. B. Thompson said. “We are grateful to the members of the Blue Ribbon Committee for the Rehabilitation of Clear Lake for their tireless advocacy and continued collaborative efforts to protect this critical resource.”
These approved projects will bring great value to Lake County as it tries to rehabilitate Clear Lake and prepare for future droughts. These projects are:
- Adobe Creek Hydrology and Groundwater Monitoring with the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians – This project is to better understand discharge in Adobe Creek, which carries nutrients and sediment that decrease water quality in Clear Lake. This information is vital to understanding how nutrients that cause Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) enter Clear Lake and how the surface water interacts with groundwater.
- Airborne Electromagnetic Survey of Lake County Groundwater Basins with the County of Lake Watershed Protection District-This project will utilize the same technology used previously by the California Department of Water Resources (CADWR) to study at-risk groundwater basins of Lake County to ensure sustainable growth and prepare for the uncertain climatic future.
- Scotts Valley Aquifer Evaluation with the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians- This project will evaluate the local aquifer conditions and storage potential in Scotts Valley. Future development of groundwater supplies may be required to provide water security for the residents of Scotts Valley and maintain stream flow to benefit the environment of Clear Lake.
- Web-based Clearinghouse for Data and Reports and Expansion of the Bay Area Council Citizen Science App and Dashboard with the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians- This project seeks to create a web-based clearing house for reports and links to data sets that span all entities collecting water quality and Chi/Hitch data on Clear Lake and tributaries. This project will also build off the existing Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians citizen science-monitoring program for fish kills to include HAB and expand outreach, manage data, and share data with other state and federal agencies.
“Lake County has, in many respects, experienced some of the leading effects of Climate Change,” shared Supervisor Crandell. “Repeated wildfires and profound drought have brought renewed urgency to better understanding all of Lake County’s water resources. Many will be aware that the Chi/Clear Lake Hitch, which is culturally significant to Lake County’s sovereign Tribal Nations, has been severely threatened, in recent years, by insufficient water to support their spawning runs. Despite the relatively wet winter of 2022-23, we must remain vigilant and take action.”
“We greatly appreciate the California Department of Water Resources’ previous investments in Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) Surveys of medium and above priority groundwater basins, including the Big Valley basin in Lake County,” affirmed Marina Deligiannis, Deputy Water Resources Director for the County of Lake. “This AEM project will further that vital work and promote responsible natural resource management and sustainable growth as we face an uncertain climatic future.”
In addition to the projects, UCD, Davis’ Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) will develop a Hypolimnetic Oxygenation (HO) Pilot Project to design, construct, and implement monitoring, water testing, and scenario testing of HO in the Oaks Arm of Clear Lake. This site is the smallest basin affected by long-term mercury issues. It is also the site for many of the largest Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB). HO will use a device to add oxygen back into the lake to improve water quality. The research on the HO process has empirically shown to improve HABs and methyl-mercury production significantly.
“UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center’s (TERC’s) Hypolimnetic Oxygenation Pilot Project in the Oaks Arm of Clear Lake also carries the potential to be a very positive step forward for Lake County,” continues Deligiannis. “Cyanobacteria has affected tourism and recreation on Clear Lake, and reducing Harmful Algal Blooms to the maximum extent possible and mitigating their effects will promote both greater economic activity and public health in our region. We appreciate the Legislature and Governor’s thoughtful investment.”
An additional $3 million from Proposition 68 funds for direct restoration projects covers nearly all of the requested funding for projects approved by BRC in 2022, further demonstrating the efficacy of this collective. AB 707 outlines the Blue Ribbon Committee members, including significant participation from local officials, Lake County Tribal Nations, local experts, and community members.
Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Yolo, Napa, Colusa, Lake Counties, and parts of Sonoma County. www.asm.ca.gov/aguiar-curry