Target: Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors
Goal: To prevent authorities from destroying Almaden Lake.
Located within the hills south of San Jose, Almaden Lake was formed in 1936 when a dam (carrying the same name) was place across Los Alamitos Creek. In 1982 the lake was opened to the general populace as a public park and quickly became one of the more popular recreational areas in the South Bay. It has earned a reputation as a fantastic locale for picnics, barbecues, and summer festivals.
Beyond this recreational aspect, the man-made reservoir also serves an extremely valuable safety role. Almaden Lake routinely serves as an important water source for Cal-Fire to utilize when fighting wildfires within the area. This means that the lake is of great benefit to the entire county, even those who have never set foot near Almaden Lake Park.
Soon the benefits of this lake and its surrounding park may no longer be a reality however. The Santa Clara Valley Water Department has elected to begin a process of what they state is “cleaning” the lake in order to protect the surrounding Guadalupe Watershed. What this term fails to acknowledge is the fact that in the process of this purported cleaning the water department also intends to redesign the lake.
Part of this redesign process involves the filling of all or part of the lake with land. Should this happen, residents would lose not only a gorgeous recreation area, but also a powerful firefighting asset. In addition, the fill-land would likely include some wetland area that would be a magnet to disease-carrying mosquitoes. What was once a safety asset to nearby communities could become a health hazard. This is unacceptable; Almaden Lake must remain intact and unfilled.
Dear Board of Directors,
When seeking to restore and protect the environment it should be self evident that the destruction of that portion of environment, be it partial or whole, should not be an acceptable option. It does not matter if the area in question is entirely natural or was originally created by man. Such would be the case however if the filling of Almaden Lake is allowed to occur. While it is originally artificial, owing its existence to a dam of the same name being placed across Los Alamitos Creek, it has become an important part of the San Jose area. That value has only increased since it was opened to the public with an associated park in 1982.
As the popularity of the park has grown, Almaden Lake has rapidly evolved into a one of the most popular recreational areas in the South Bay area. It is exceedingly popular with families who can enjoy the atmosphere as well as the summer festivals often held there. The recreational aspect of Almaden Lake Park does not comprise the sole benefit to preserving and maintaining the lake however. The lake is also a valuable resource for Cal-Fire, as the reservoir is utilized for nearby fires during the course of California’s wildfire season. Filling in the lake would remove that important resource and thus increase the area’s vulnerability to wildfire destruction. The elemental mercury found in the water table is a concern, and should be removed to protect the Guadalupe Watershed, but this does not mean the entire lake must be scrubbed from the map, the whole or partial filling of the lake cannot be allowed to happen.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Sara Rosado via Flickr