Cloud Seeding Update, 12/6

RE: MCRWA’s proposed cloud seeding proceeding on the basis of a negative mitigation report without benefit of a full environmental impact report (EIR).

Statement to be included in Board Packets, as suggested.

This is part of what I posted, straight off my blog:

(See prior post on this subject, a few posts below)

In addition to the above, I would like to stress that there are over 200 registered voters who live on the South Coast of Big Sur, outside of the somewhat transitory Esalen population (and at least an equal number who don’t register, for whatever reason), in isolated rural pockets who are stakeholders in the proposed action.

All of us were completely unaware of the proposed action by this board which directly impacts our lives, our properties, and our livelihoods until Friday, December 4th in the late afternoon. I would hope that the Board consider its decision carefully, and develop a full and complete Environmental Impact Report before allowing this project to proceed.

This EIR should take into consideration those concerns I expressed above, as well as those we, who will be impacted, may not have yet realized. I suggest that this EIR be developed before this board takes any action on this proposal, and that time for the scars of the Basin Complex Fire and the Chalk Fire to heal, which the BAER report indicated would be five years, or 2013, also be considered in the EIR. I would also hope that this board consider acting with more transparency to impacted communities in the future by broader dissemination of proposed actions so that the public comment period can be a meaningful one, not just a rote rendition to satisfy compliance requirements.

I plan to be at the December 21st meeting, if weather and road conditions allow, to address you personally. If there is any further information you require of me before that date, please feel free to contact me by using any of the means provided below.

(Ed. Note – I am reading all sorts of scientific articles on cloud seeding, attempting to educate myself.)

Cloud Seeding Program off Big Sur Coast

XT has posted an article here: Cloud Seeding Article

about a cloud seeding program being proposed by the Monterey County Water Resources Agency. I have confirmed his story independently. The earliest the seeding would begin would be the end of January. Seeding, while controversial, has the potential to increase rainfall by 20%.

These are the concerns I have voiced so far:

Obviously, I have some serious concerns about this as we on the South Coast, seem to be directly in the path. Of course, the road up Chalk Peak has always been fragile, to say the least, and after the Chalk Fire last year, only a lot of faith and hope has held it up. Chalk Peak is the only way in or out for at least 12-15 people. Plaskett Ridge Rd. is in dire need of repair. It hasn’t been graded since 2000, and the storm of October 13th took a horrible road and turned it into a nightmare. The Hermitage is also in jeopardy, although I know they have been working hard to shore things up, so-to-speak. At Limekiln State Park, the damage from the Chalk Fire has not even been repaired, yet. Mud flows and debris flows could permanently close that park with the current fiscal situation in the State.

Additionally, there are at least three Cal-Trans projects down here currently going on that could be significantly impacted, if not stopped altogether by any decision to seed the clouds, and I think the appropriate Cal-Trans staff should be consulted, as well. XT reports that no EIA or EIR is being prepared, simply a negative mitigations report, which should have to take into consideration the horizontal drain project 1 mile north of Ragged Point; the rockshed at Rain Rocks; the bridge at Pitkins Curve; and the Gambo Tieback project just south of Packard Beach, as well as the damaged hillsides from the Chalk and Basin Fires.

The water situation in the Salinas Valley Ag community is reaching critical stages, Lake San Antonio is at 33% capacity. Lake Nacimiento is at 13%. I know their concerns, and why they would want both Lake San Antonio and Nacimiento to be at their fullest levels by the end of the season, but at what costs?

Frankly, this is a frightening possibility for the South Coast, particularly for those in or near the footprint of the 2008 Chalk Fire, and for the entire Big Sur Coast that sits in the footprint of the Basin Complex Fire.

From XT: “A hearing, at which the MCWRA Board will be asked to certify a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project, rather than a full Environmental Impact Report, will be held on December 21 at 1:00pm at 893 Blanco Circle, in Salinas.”