Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Water Water Everywhere

Holy smokes, the storms are coming one after the other. Thunder, lightening, sudden heavy downpours, high winds, the works. I love it (but my poor cat skulks around the house flat as a pancake, in total terror). As I watch the water flooding my basement, I wonder how the rain is impacting Lake Merced. You might recall that the lake, once one of the finest freshwater urban fisheries anywhere, suffered from years of neglect (not to mention the paving over of our permeable surfaces), until the water level declined so that it went from a cold water to a warm water lake, which altered its ecology, and not in a good way. Rowing, fishing and boating pretty much evaporated (no pun intended, or maybe so). It took years of advocacy from the Lake Merced Task Force, started by several of us in 1999, made up of users, neighbors, environmentalists working alongside the SFPUC who owns it, the Recreation and Parks Department (especially the Natural Areas Program) and lots of other folks (and at least one lawsuit) to establish the lake as a priority. That led to multiple studies, new policies and constant attention that has helped restore the water level and beneficial uses that had once been virtually lost. Rowers, Dragon Boats, birders, fishing folks have all returned. The Task Force was put to bed last year after 10 years of great work as the PUC continues to implement sound plans to assure the lake's longevity. Lake Merced is located in the southwest corner of the City, for those, including many SF residents, who have never seen it. Let's all go and watch the water rise.

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