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New Lake Tulloch Policies, Regs Planned

The Lake Tulloch Task Force has just about completed a resolution to manage future development and recreation at Lake Tulloch Reservoir.

District 5 Supervisor Victoria Erickson heads up the land-use planning task force that includes homeowner associations, county staff members and the Copperopolis Community Plan Advisory Committee. The task force is expected to make recommendations about the future of the reservoir to the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors within the next month.

Erickson said five of 18 task force members showed up at last week´s meeting. The panel agreed more members should be present before they choose their recommendation to the board. They have not yet scheduled their final meeting.

The next task force meeting, when scheduled, will consider adoption of a set of policies, a multi agency cooperative management plan and a pollution discharge permit and fee.

The new policies would address regulations for docks, sewage disposal systems, shoreline erosion control and more. The management plan involves three agencies, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties and the Tri-Dam Project, which operates the reservoir and controls development on its surface waters.

The Tri-Dam Project last year ordered a moratorium on new dock development so that its staff could develop a long-term plan for the lake. The moratorium is still in place.

Tri-Dam staff members seemed confident after Tuesday´s meeting that if a cooperative working agreement is reached the project´s board of directors would decide to lift the moratorium.

Tri-Dam´s board meets every third Thursday of the month.

The pollution discharge permit and fee is modeled after a similar ordinance in Madera County. Madera´s hazardous-waste inspection fee generates funds to offset costs of inspecting and permitting boats at Bass Lake.

In 2002, there were six accidents on the Tulloch Lake, based on Calaveras sheriff´s Capt. Clay Hawkins´ research. New Melones Lake, which is nearly 10 times the size of Tulloch, reported only three accidents.

“The lake´s carrying capacity is calculated by one boat per 16 acres,” Steve Felte, Tri-Dam Project general manager said. “For Lake Tulloch, that equates to 120 boats.” In a survey done by Tri-Dam, the number of boats in the water on a busy weekend is 150 to 170, he said.

“If the funds were raised (under an ordinance like Madera County´s), they would be used for law enforcement and public education to improve and attempt to lower accident rates,” Hawkins said.

The lake straddles the border between Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, south of Copperopolis.

Tuolumne County has an agreement with Tri-Dam that all permits for docks are processed through the county´s building department. Currently, Tri-Dam administers the dock permitting for Calaveras County.

Erickson´s task force idea surfaced as part of a March 10 supervisors´ study session on issues related to Lake Tulloch and Tri-Dam Project. The task force proposal emerged from a March 8 community meeting to identify shoreline management issues on Lake Tulloch that attracted more than 50 concerned citizens.

Tri-Dam is a partnership between the Oakdale Irrigation District and the South San Joaquin Irrigation District. Tri-Dam produces power and provides irrigation water to Valley agricultural operations.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Vanessa Turner. For more Calaveras news, click:Calaveras Enterprise