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Bill shifting Berryessa managment moves forward

DOUG ERNST - TOWNS CORRESPONDENT, DOUG ERNST - TOWNS CORRESPONDENT

Lake Berryessa recreation management will be shifted from the Bureau of Reclamation to the Bureau of Land Management under a bill passed Thursday by the House committee on Natural Resources.

“BLM is the agency best suited to manage recreational activities at Lake Berryessa,” said Rep. Mike Thompson, author of the bill. “Now that this bipartisan bill has passed committee the full House should take it up so that BLM, BOR and Napa County can begin working on a smooth management transfer, and on a successful redevelopment plan.”

Thompson’s bill, H.R. 4166, has 226 co-authors, eight more than is needed to pass the House.

BOR has failed to provide and manage adequate concessions at Lake Berryessa in recent years. Currently, only one of the seven concessions has a permanent operator and four are operated under interim contracts, providing only boat launching and camping without hook-ups, showers or running water. The two remaining concession locations are closed. The lack of concessions has caused tourism to drop and has hurt the local economy.

BLM manages 264 million acres of public lands across the United States, and has extensive experience managing outdoor activities on public lands – including camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, wildlife viewing and more. BLM management of the Lake Berryessa Recreation area would help ensure better management and enhanced recreational opportunities for visitors to the lake.

Specifically, the Lake Berryessa Recreation Enhancement Act would transfer administrative jurisdiction over the Lake Berryessa Recreation Area from BOR to BLM while still allowing BOR to administer the Monticello Dam and other facilities related to the dam.