The MGH Report

Michael G. Haran, Proprietor

Something Gained and Something Lost

Posted by on Dec 13, 2014

Commentary 

Healdsburg Tribune

12/11/2014

Along with the dedication of a new park atop of Fitch Mountain a community treasure has quietly slipped into the past. On a sunny Sunday in September, Fitch mountaineers gathered for a potluck at Del Rio beach to share memories of a lake that is no more. Al Pucci, director of the Del Rio Woods Recreation and Park District, Fitch Mountain Association trustee, addressed the group and thanked everyone for their involvement and support. About 30 people came to pay their respects and share stories of their time spent on the Del Rio Woods summer lake.

Del Rio Dam

Del Rio Woods Lake

 The following account of Del Rio Woods was collected by Sylvia Seventy, a longtime resident of Fitch Mountain, and Jane Bonham of the Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society. In 1965 the Healdsburg Tribune reported that “Del Rio Beach is a privately owned beach that the local homeowners’ association makes available to outsiders.” The Del Rio Woods Park and Recreation District was established in 1961 by the Home Owners Association.

 In 1927, two men, (R. Cook and J. Pohley) opened a subdivision named “Del Rio Woods” and several acres near the top of Fitch Mountain were reserved as a public park. Thomas Scoble of San Francisco subsequently bought the project and built a road to the top of the mountain. He then sold off most of the lots that had been reserved for the park. In order to attract summer vacationer he built a dance and band platform, a sales office, a store and a balcony with a “fine view of the river.” In 1937, a dance hall named “Palomar” was built by a new owner (E. Frampton) to replace the open platform.

 In the 1930s Scoble installed a gravel dam. In August of 1933 a lawsuit was filed against Scoble’s Del Rio Properties complaining that the dam was unsafe after it failed three times in several weeks the County asked for a preliminary injunction against maintaining, operating or using a dam across the Russian River at Del Rio Woods.

Del Rio Dam Farewell 9-7-14

 In September 1934, a semi-permanent dam with a permanent spillway was built. It’s kind of curious, but I guess not all that surprising, that the dam, which had passed inspection by the state’s Department of Public Works, was declared unsafe in February of 1935. Work was done in the following summer to strengthen the dam’s wing walls but in 1941 the west wing was washed away by high water.

 In order to avoid the need for annual fund raising from property owners and merchants a permanent recreation district was created and in the 1950s a new permanent spillway was built. The east and west wings of the dam, which consisted of large wooden boards packed in gravel, were built up in the spring and removed in the fall.Del Rio Dam Farewell 9-7-14 022

 The last summer that saw the dam built was in 2002. Concerns about turbidity and mud endangering fish survival and reproduction during the build-up and removal of the wings cause the state and local wildlife authorities to ban the annual dam installation. The permanent spillway was removed this past August.

 The three Daneri sisters, Claire (Harris), Carol (Gerhardt) and Jean (McShane – who came all the way from Florida) told of their summers spent swimming in the lake. They had a summer home on Redwood drive that was built by their father in 1946.

Martha Brooks of Windsor, who was there with her son James, told of meeting her husband Wes in 1963 at a freshman girl’s “all night” party at the lake. For years Wes was in charge of building the dam each summer and, as a helper, it was a summer job for James. She said she was on the crew that would dive down to sandbag the slow erosion around the spillway. Martha told of the “pecking order” on the dam. It seems that the high school boys would perch near the spillway; the middle school boys would sit next to them with the elementary boys being closest to shore. She also said that countless number of kids would consider themselves a “certified swimmer” if they could make it to the lake’s anchored platform and back.

Del Rio Dam Farewell 9-7-14 003

Del Rio Woods Beach Today

Don McEnhill, the Riverkeeper and Executive Director of the Russian Riverkeeper organization was there along with his son Jack. As a young boy Don would play on the lake with his sisters. He said that although the removal of the dam from an historic and sociological standpoint was sad, not having the dam’s annual disturbance is an ecological benefit for the health of the river.

Penelope La Montagne, a long time Fitch Mountain resident who lives on the river and is a poet laureate, used to compose poetry while wading along the lake’s shore. She said that losing the lake was sad and when I asked her for something from one of her “lake” poems she gave me a line from her poem A Five Turtle Day, “With heart-shaped strokes, fingers together, I propel myself the bent cottonwood that signals the shoreline of home.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CLIMATE PRIMER

Posted by on Feb 26, 2014

COMMENTARY

Since I have recently been dragged into the climate debate I decided to do some of my own research on the subject. I came across this amazing website called www.scepticalscience.com. The site lists climate 172 “denier” statements like “climate’s changed before;” “It’s the sun;” and “Climategate CRU emails suggest conspiracy.” The neat thing about the site is that each “denier” comment has a rebuttal that links to the source of that rebuttal.Global Warming #1

I clicked on “There’s no correlation between CO2 and temperature” and here’s some of the info that came up:

Water vapor constitutes about 95% of the earth’s greenhouse gases, 3% is CO2 and 2% is methane. The question is what percentage of that 3% is man-made and is that man-made portion really effecting climate change or is there a natural cycle at play here? 

The amount of CO2 is increasing all the time – we just passed a landmark 400 parts per million concentration of atmospheric CO2, up from around 280ppm before the industrial revolution. That’s a 42.8% increase. Greenhouse gases keep the Earth’s surface 54°F warmer than it would be without them. We have added 42% more CO2 but that doesn’t mean the temperature will go up by 42% too?

There are several reasons why. Doubling the amount of CO2 does not double the greenhouse effect. The way the climate reacts is also complex, and it is difficult to separate the effects of natural changes from man-made ones over short periods of time. As the amount of man-made CO2 goes up, temperatures do not rise at the same rate. In fact, although estimates vary the last IPCC report (AR4) described the likely range as between 35.6 and 40.1°Fahrenheit, for double the amount of CO2 compared to pre-industrial levels.

“According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 1.4°Fahrenheit since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975.”

Climate change is happening very quickly compared to changes that occurred in the past: “As the Earth moved out of ice ages over the past million years, the global temperature rose a total of 39.2 to 44.6°Fahrenheit over about 5,000 years. In the past century alone, the temperature climb of 1.4°Fahrenheit is roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.”

Much has been made of the fact that the rate of surface warming has slowed in the past decade. Yet the physical properties of CO2 and other greenhouse gases cannot change. But if that’s true, where is this heat going? The answer is into the deep oceans.

Before the industrial revolution, the CO2 content in the air remained quite steady for thousands of years. Natural CO2 is not static, however. It is generated by natural processes, and absorbed by others. Natural land and ocean carbon remains roughly in balance and have done so for a long time – and we know this because we can measure historic levels of CO2 in the atmosphere directly in ice cores.

Global Warming Pic #5Although our output of 29 gigatons of CO2 is tiny compared to the 750 gigatons moving through the carbon cycle each year, it adds up when more CO2 is released from outside of the natural carbon cycle by burning fossil fuels because the land and ocean cannot absorb the extra CO2. About 40% of this additional CO2 is absorbed. The rest remains in the atmosphere, and as a consequence, atmospheric CO2 is at its highest level in 15 to 20 million years (Tripati 2009). A natural change of 100ppm normally takes 5,000 to 20,000 years. The recent increase of 100ppm has taken just 120 years).

Human CO2 emissions upset the natural balance of the carbon cycle. Man-made CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by a third since the pre-industrial era, creating an artificial forcing of global temperatures which is warming the planet. While fossil-fuel derived CO2 is a very small component of the global carbon cycle, the extra CO2 is cumulative because the natural carbon exchange cannot absorb all the additional CO2.

The level of atmospheric CO2 is building up, the additional CO2 is being produced by burning fossil fuels, and that build up is accelerating.

 

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