Monday, May 10, 2010

Put The 'Lake' in Blue Lake

Posted By on Mon, May 10, 2010 at 6:06 PM

And now, according to a detailed press packet, the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District enters the third, and final, phase of the water resources planning process that it's calling "Stay With the Flow," but which is otherwise known, in the local parlance, as "Holy Crap, We Can't Let the Waterbaggers Get Our Mad."

Just kidding -- that actually could be a perfectly acceptable option, in some people's opinion.

Anyway, the District's been engaging citizens and stakeholders for months to come up with options for dealing with those 60 million gallons a day of untreated Mad River water for which the District's got the rights to but, alas, no longer the customers since the last of the two pulp mills went kaput. (Yes, we know, it could still reopen.) This is a big deal: If the District can't find a new, beneficial use for the water, by state law it could lose the rights to it to someone else, and, the rest of the District's water customers would see rate hikes of 100 to 200 percent. (For more on that, see the NCJ's story Cup Runneth Over and of course the District's Web site.

In this final phase, there will be three meetings where you, me and everybody will get to argue and nod over the options the District winnowed from public input. They fall broadly into four categories: use the water within the district's boundaries, transfer the water for use outside the District, generate energy with it, and use it for in-stream flows.

"Create a lake in Blue Lake for recreation and fishing purposes" falls into the use-it-within-the-district category, of course.

The meetings, from 6-8:30 p.m., are June 1 at Azalea Hall in McKinleyville, June 3 at the D Street Neighborhood Center in Arcata, and June 15 at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka.

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Heidi Walters

Heidi Walters worked as a staff writer at the North Coast Journal from 2005 to 2015.

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