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Protecting Sespe Creek

September 14, 1989

Rep. Bob Lagomarsino has been quoted as describing environmentalists' proposals to protect all of Sespe Creek from development as "ridiculous."

The congressman has, we believe, a genuine interest in protecting our Ventura County backcountry. What is happening is that the local population at large is actively demonstrating that they feel this protection ought to be increased. A Ventura County Star-Free Press poll at the County Fair found 77% (of nearly 900 polled) in favor of "barring dams on the entire creek." That's a pretty clear message.

Keep the Sespe Wild Committee continues to demonstrate how minor an option the Sespe is for future supplies of water. The 8,000 acre-feet per year figure, used currently by dam proponents, equals only 2% of our total annual water usage countywide. Is this worth $300 million in capital outlay--on your shoulders?

Use of reclaimed water and a 10% level of conservation (Metropolitan Water District has achieved this 10% level in its service area in the Southland and is aiming for another 10%) will be a far less expensive option, gaining up to 90,000 acre-feet of water a year.

Our question is: Why are Sespe Dam proponents looking so little at these obvious options and at the same time describing 8,000 acre-feet of Sespe Creek water as something without which our children will have to leave the county?

Lagomarsino has told us that he sees no problem with adding about four miles to his proposed protection of 27 1/2 miles of Sespe Creek.

Do not be misled by this addition of a short stretch of the creek to protected status; it will not preclude a dam site. (Not that conservationists are unhappy about this--we have worked hard for it.)

One day our representatives will decide that 77% of their constituents locally have the right idea--and Keep the Sespe Wild Committee will be around until the whole creek does receive the full protection it deserves.

ALASDAIR COYNE

Ojai

Coyne is secretary for Keep the Sespe Wild Committee .

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