Your ability to retrieve facts and stats and your knowledge of aquatic biology and ecosystems never ceases to amaze me. It seems as though you work or worked in the field at some time...
I can see where the demographics of San Francisco County and Lake County are night and day but what I was speaking to was your comment concerning Clear Lake's tax rate possibly becoming "the highest tax rate in the state at 9.25%" when the tax rate here in the east bay area, more specifically Alameda County already has been 9.25%
for some time now and would be hard to surpass as the highest state-wide rate. I was thinking of the tax rates as being a deterrent to the local economy in terms of consumers deciding where that they are going to make their major purchases but I can see where median income figures and unemployment rates would factor into it being an effective greater burden to the locals than others from other areas...
The root of the problem is nutrient loading, which is excessive, with the amount of commercial agricultural pesticides and fertilizer entering the lake during run off from major storms.
Add to this antiquated septic systems, water pollution control plant in the City of Clearlake incapable of handling excessive storm run off, as it doesn't have the capacity to do so, and numerous other factors surrounding the lake, mainly the loss of wetland habitat, and natural tulle beds along the entire shoreline of Clear Lake.
The statement about algae and weed abatement... very misleading. The bottom line is we cannot eliminate the algae and weed problem with the band-aid attempt to fight it with chemical sources, or mechanical sources, as there is no designated facility where to dispose of algae and weeds, and add to the fact when hydrilla is discovered... all mechanical harvesting of aquatic weeds must immediately stop in the area where it is found.... so then you are back to square one like trying to draw water from a rock.
What Lake County Supervisors need to do, and already are aware of, is to continue restoring the natural wetlands lost through years of land and lake bed neglect, which filter the amount of nutrients entering the lake, including the agricultural industry reducing the amount of pesticides and fertilizers used every season.
The bulk of the funds generated will go toward band-aid attempts to address the algae and weed problems every summer for the next ten years, but very little goes toward wetland restoration, which is the key to reducing the nutrient loading into Clear Lake, and improving the overall health of the lake.
What I perceive overall... is this measure is driven by the interests of real estate and private business owners directly impacted by the health of the lake every summer tourist season, but expecting Lake County residents and tourists to foot the bill.
The more I learn about the lakes nutrient-loading problem the more questions I seem to have. Maybe you can answer some of these questions and help me understand...
I can see where increased or more effective wetlands would help filter organic
nutrients in the form of leaves,silt,etc. from entering the lake directly but what effect would they have on inorganic
or dissolved nutrients such as possible fertilizer run-off from nearby agriculture? Any? What types of commercial agriculture does the Clear Lake basin have other than pears,wine grapes and possibly hay? (OK Greg, I won't leave out cannabis) Do any of the regional farmers/ranchers use inorganic fertilizers on their lands,or are they still allowed to? And if they still do, What is the answer to preventing the possibility of that type of run-off other than an all-out ban on inorganic fertilizers?? Do you (or the "authorities" on such things) feel as though the regions volcanic past or numerous mineral springs play any role in the nutrient content of the lake?
My understanding of basic biology/ecology is that once an ecosystem contains a given amount of nutrients that those nutrients continue to be recycled in the form of living organisms (biomass,including plants and animals) that live and then die and decompose to become the nutrients for the next generation of living organisms within that ecosystem much like the aquatic weeds and algae at Clear Lake. Assuming that this is true and that said ecosystem is somewhat "contained" or isolated, Once an ecosystem is nutrient-loaded to a certain degree wouldn't the resulting biomass continue to recycle at similar levels year-to-year unless something or someone removed some of those nutrients from the cycle within that particular ecosystem? In other words, Even if we were able to stop the addition of any additional
nutrients into Clear Lake (from any/every
source),couldn't we expect a similar level of biomass (weed/algae growth) every year (barring any major environmental fluctuations such as weather) unless some of those nutrients or biomass were removed from the cycle of that particular ecosystem??
Why can't some of the aquatic plant life in Clear Lake be harvested and composted into organic fertilizer to be used elsewhere? Why does it have
to be left in the lake only to die and rot perpetuating the same cycle year-to-year over and over again?? I thought I heard last year that the weed growth to the waters surface in the north-lake area extended to a mile or more from the shore in a lot of areas and that many areas in the north were effectively inaccessible by boat...
It wasn't that long ago that I saw an episode of "Dirty Jobs" where Mike Rowe was helping out with a business that made their living harvesting water weeds from weed-choked lakes and ponds in the mid-west area of the country, and I could of sworn that they said that the resulting plant harvest was simply composted like any other type of "green waste".
I thought that I heard of (and possibly witnessed) the commercial
harvesting of non-game fish at Clear Lake (as recently as the eighties) for the purposes,I was told, of making fish emulsion fertilizer... Have any of you all seen or heard of such a thing taking place at Clear Lake in the past?
With such an apparent over-abundance of bio-mass and nutrients in Clear Lake, Would we really
have to worry about over-harvesting the lake to the point of a semi-sterile lake with just a few puny fish???
What do you think?