Friday, 24 May 2024

Lucerne residents discuss dumping concerns, form CRMP

Illegal dumping in Morrison Creek. Photo by Lenny Matthews.

LUCERNE Before Lucerne has even formed a Coordinated Resource Management Plan, or CRMP, it's getting a massive boost from cooperating county and state agencies and some private firms.

On Saturday, those groups, which include Lake County jail inmates, a private towing company, the California Department of Fish and Game and Lake County's Code Enforcement department, will clean up Morrison Creek's illegally dumped trash. The Robinson Rancheria Tribal Council will bring its trucks to help haul.

Voris Brumfield, Code Enforcement director, invited the public to stay away on this occasion, for safety reasons. But they are invited to a CRMP formation meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center (LASC).

"It's being handed to you," said Chuck Morse, a director with the West Lake Resource Conservation District, and the county's deputy agriculture commissioner, at Wednesday's information meeting at LASC.

About 45 people attended, nearly a third of them county employees or volunteers with other long-established local CRMPS.

Residents' concerns ranged beyond the watershed effort, which is the RCD's central task, to cleaning up street litter and homes where garbage piles up, and involving the community's youth.

That last might be tricky, some residents said later, noting that young users of Off Highway Vehicles had participated in previous cleanups and then been told they could no longer use their OHVs on the back roads.

DFG warden Loren Freeman, who came here in January from Orange County, said he has four misdemeanor prosecutions in the works for illegal dumping.

He and DFG partner Lynette Shimek dug through piles of garbage to find leads which identified the culprits. The violations can bring a maximum six months in jail or fines of $25,000-plus. He noted wardens are peace officers, although involved with environmental law.

The established Nice CRMP will have a cleanup day April 21; all are welcome to join in. "It's good practice," said Linda Juntunen, project coordinator with the RDC. Other state and county sponsored cleanups are regularly scheduled in October.

The audience gave a standing ovation to Lucerne resident Lenny Matthews, who started the effort with her widely-posted photos of illegal dump sites. One of them showed flammable materials and poisons in Morrison Creek.

"And that's right where the creek empties into the lake near the Lucerne water supply's intake pipe," said Third District Supervisor Denise Rushing, who led the meeting.

Gating some access roads to ridge areas was mentioned as a deterrent, a suggestion that led Lucerne's fire captain David Fesmire to comment unlocking gates would slow response times to fires. "We often get reports of a brush fire and then find it's actually flammable materials illegally dumped," he said. A motorcyclist himself, he also expressed reservations about banning OHVs.

Rushing said Thursday the CRMP program has proved effective since it started in California in the 1950s, modeled on a Nevada program.

Currently, 15 agencies are involved, including the California departments of Conservation,Fish and Game, Food and Agriculture, Forestry and Fire Protection, and Water Resources, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish and Wildlife Services.

Numerous local agencies, such as Scout troops and garden clubs, homeowners' associations and garden clubs also participate. One of the most popular programs is "Kids in the Creek," which encompasses education flora and fauna. Another is native plant protection and rehabilitation.

E-mail Sophie Annan Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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