In response to the complete draining of the Mountain Meadows Reservoir last fall, MMC decided that we should provide a platform for local folks and representatives from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Water Resources Control Board to meet and discuss local issues pertaining to the reservoir. That platform has become the Friends of Mountain Meadows, a group that has been meeting quarterly ever since.
At MMC we feel that it is very important to hold both PG&E and CDFW accountable for their respective management obligations towards the reservoir, and to ensure that communication between the two groups is occurring in a meaningful way. We also believe that keeping local community members up to date on management issues associated with the reservoir will lead to positive outcomes for all parties involved, so many local people spend a lot of time on the reservoir, and many have been doing so for 40+ years. We are working to cultivate trust and engage these folks in the process of project planning; their perspectives are insightful and their knowledge of the region is rooted in their experiences on the land.
A wide range of folks continue to attend these gatherings including representatives from PG&E, CDFW, Sierra Pacific Industries, Beatty and Associates, local business owners, local sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. The tone of these meetings is cordial and respectful; we buy Buffalo Chips pizza to make sure that attendees are well fed.
During the summer we learned of a potentially harmful algal bloom on the reservoir; we decided to hold the August meeting at the Indian Ole Dam in the shade of pine and fir trees. We talked about why algal blooms occur and what we can do about them. A local entomologist brought a jar containing an algae sample that he had collected earlier that week. The PG&E biologist discussed the monitoring that he had been conducting on the reservoir and how he was getting to know the area better, which we believe is the key to better management of the reservoir.