FORT BRAGG, CA, 6/6/23 — Fort Bragg’s project to build three new reservoirs — and establish a community forest — near the Summers Lane Reservoir, is moving forward. Two months ago, the city finalized the purchase of the 582-acre property. Now, city staff will send out a request for proposals to design the construction.
Fort Bragg will be “increasingly dependent on stored water” in coming years, Public Works Director John Smith advised when the Fort Bragg City Council approved the project last fall.
The design phase is budgeted at $850,000. Staff plan to fund design work directly from the city’s Water Enterprise Account. W— while grant funds are available, seeking those monies is estimated to increase the length of an already involved project by about a year.
The city would seek grant funding for actual construction and conservation of the property. The latter is a crucial piece of the project, as some of the area contains the biologically sensitive habitat of Mendocino pygmy cypress woodlands, an extremely sensitive natural community. For this reason, the majority of the property would be preserved as a community forest.
“It will be important to the project to clearly define areas to be used for development, for conservation, and for mitigation sufficiently early in the process in order to develop appropriate environmental evaluation and documentation strategy,” the request for proposals outlined.
The city is in close consultation with Mendocino Land Trust, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lake and Streambed Alteration Division (CDFWLSA) to conduct habitat review and develop an environmentally sound approach to implementing the reservoirs. Mendocino Land Trust may manage the community forest, according to the latest staff report.
The three 45-acre-foot reservoirs will take up only around 30 acres of the forested area, and are anticipated to be close in size to the Summers Lane Reservoir (around 18 feet deep). The city hopes to place a parking lot, caretaker unit, and pit toilets in the most disturbed area of the property, closest to Highway 20.
Fort Bragg seeks written inquiries from engineering consultants by July 6.
Note: Kate Fishman covers the environment & natural resources for The Mendocino Voice in partnership with a Report For America. Her position is funded by the Community Foundation of Mendocino, Report for America, & our readers. You can support Fishman’s work with a tax-deductible donation here or by emailing [email protected]. Contact her at KFishman@mendovoice.com or at (707) 234-7735. The Voice maintains editorial control and independence.