Every summer for umpteen years we’ve made the trek up Hiway 88 to Silver Lake, where we deposit various children for a week of 4H Camp. This is an area with a strong tourist industry, but still untouched by rank commercialism.
Only miles away from Silver Lake, but a leap up in altitude, is Caples Lake…formed by a dam built in the early 1900s. Problems with aging gates on the dam have caused the El Dorado Irrigation District to begin an emergency drawdown of water so that the gates can be repaired.
This drawdown was planned to minimize harm to local businesses, states an EID press release. According to this release, the timing of the downdraw is meant to allow dam construction crews a safe window to make repairs before the onset of winter. Work is planned to begin in mid-September.
Of course anything this major is controversial…and 26 year resident John Voss has begun a blog in an attempt to draw attention to the plight of the fish in the lake. An excellent report by Reno TV station KTVN explains the issue (you’ll have to look in the right hand column of videos for the Caples Lake story).
So here’s a real problem. The dam gates must be fixed or they may give way, causing an unexpected massive release of water which could wreck havoc downstream. But what to do with the fish – it is illegal to remove them…Fish and Game must test for disease and there may not be time (or inclination) to go through this process.
Hundreds of trophy size fish may suffocate when the water levels are at their lowest in October and when the lake will likely freeze over for winter. EID is taking the stance that they will restock the fishery. They are also building a “bladder” damn, which may or may not work to save these fish.
So…can a blog save these fish? And how? I wish them luck.