Library's Action Strikes a Nerve : Creek Should Be Saved, Not Dammed

Chuck Bennett objects to protecting Sespe Creek as a wild and scenic river. He would like to protect Fillmore residents instead by damming the lower Sespe just upstream and thus preventing future loss of life from catastrophic flood.

Ventura County public works assures us that the levees in Fillmore are now constructed to withstand a 100-year flood, but what we're really talking about here is a water-supply issue. What Mr. Bennett neglects to mention is that this same lower Sespe dam, the Oat Mountain proposal, would lay atop the San Cayetano earthquake fault that is due for a 7.0 quake. This ought to be enough to bury for good further talk of a dam at this site.

Alternatives to damming, such as wider reuse of reclaimed water and the more efficient use of present supplies by both urban and agricultural users, offer more long-term water security. Sespe dams weren't even mentioned in Ventura County's Drought Action Resource Summary, released in April, 1991--a listing of dozens of short- and long-term water-supply options for all sectors of our county. That says it all.

It is unfortunate that critics of a fully protected Sespe Creek have not taken enough time to savor its delights. Spring is the finest and most comfortable season to visit the upper reaches for a stroll, a picnic or a day hike. California 33 north from Ojai takes you toward Lion's Campground in Rose Valley, which borders the creek; the U.S. Forest Service offers maps listing trails.

ALASDAIR COYNE

Conservation director

Keep The Sespe Wild Committee

Ojai

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