Mr. Drummer was asking the City of San Francisco to allow fishing, from the shore, at the Calaveras Reservoir in Santa Clara County.
From Tim Drummer:
San Francisco Determines That Fishing Will Not Negatively Affect the Drinking Water in Calaveras Reservoir.
A lawsuit, brought by fisherman Timothy Dümmer in 2019, asked the Alameda Superior Court to force the City and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to do what they have been avoiding for over 90 years; open the Calaveras Reservoir to fishing and recreation as required by California law.
In January 2022 the Court sided with Dümmer and ordered the City of San Francisco to immediately begin the process of opening the reservoir. The first step, under Health and Safety Code section 117045, was for the City to ensure that fishing would not harm the water. On August 8th, 2022 the City presented its determination that fishing will not affect the water.
The City, SFPUC, and most California water agencies and departments prefer to have reservoirs and the surrounding land closed, as opening the land can dig into their pockets. However, California law is crystal clear on this one issue of public access. Even the California Constitution (Art X, Sec 4) requires all public access laws to be written, thus construed, in favor of opening the waters of the State. Additionally, Art I, section 25, enshrines the “absolute” right to fish in waters of the State which contain naturally occurring fish, which most reservoirs do.
Since the City has determined that fishing will not affect the purity of the water (because of its rigorous 5 step purification process), the next step for the City is to obtain the appropriate permits. Interestingly, fishing causes little to no harm to drinking water. The more serious threats come from: heavy metals (e.g., copper, lead, zinc and cadmium); petroleum products and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons; synthetic organics (e.g., pesticides, herbicides, and PCBs); nutrients (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers), oxygen-demanding substances (decaying vegetation, animal waste), and trash. All of these foregoing pollutants occur despite reservoirs being closed to foot traffic. Water departments have argued for years, and have convinced many, that public access (ie. Foot traffic, fishing, camping, picnicking, etc.) is the primary detriment to our watersheds, but it simply isn’t true.
Based on these new admissions by the SFPUC, and because all involved waters are fully purified before use, Dümmer is preparing a new suit aimed at opening other California waters, including Upper and Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir, San Antonio Reservoir, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, Pilarcitos Reservoir, San Andreas Reservoir, Calaveras Creek, and Alameda Creek.
Original Action filed October, 18th, 20192022-08-08 Return to Writ, with Exhibits A and B (1)
Dummer, Timothy James v. City and County of San Francisco
January 28th, 2022
This Court, having considered Respondents City and County of San Francisco and the San
Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (“Respondents”) Return of the Writ of Mandate issued by this court on January 28, 2022, wherein Respondents were directed to:
1) Immediately commence the process at Calaveras Reservoir required by Health and
Safety Code § 117045, to determine if opening the reservoir to public fishing will or will not affect the purity and safety for drinking and domestic purposes of the water collected in the reservoir, and to determine if there are terms and conditions upon which public fishing may be conducted in the reservoir and on its surrounding land;
2) Complete such process within 6 months after service of said writ; THEREFORE, HEREBY
ORDERS AS FOLLOWS:
1) The Court finds that Respondents have complied with the Writ of Mandate issued by this Court on January 28, 2022.
2) The Writ of Mandate issued by this Court on January 28, 2022 is discharged in its entirety.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Full Order2022-08-08 Proposed Order
Dummer, Timothy James v. City and County of San Francisco; Alameda County Superior Court Case No. HG19041020; Service of Return to Writ
August 8th, 2022
ACTIONS TAKEN IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE WRIT
Consistent with this Court’s Order and Judgment Granting Petition for Writ of Mandate filed
on January 21, 2022, and in compliance with the Writ, the Respondent San Francisco Public Utilities
Commission adopted Resolution No. 22-0135 in which (1) the Commission determined, subject to the results of any CEQA review and the analysis of the State’s Office of Drinking Water, that shoreline fishing by the public can occur under terms to be set by the General Manager without affecting the purity and safety for drinking and domestic purposes of the water collected in Calaveras Reservoir, and (2) the Commission authorized the General Manager to develop the terms and conditions of a fishing program; obtain the City Planning Department’s review of that program under CEQA; request an amendment to the drinking water permit from the State’s Office of Drinking Water; and, present to this Commission proposed amendments to the 2000 Alameda Watershed Management Plan to allow limited public shoreline fishing at Calaveras Reservoir. Resolution No. 22-0135 is attached hereto as Exhibit B.
Full Document of Respondents’ Return to Writ and Proposed Order2022-08-08 Return to Writ, with Exhibits A and B