[Brief published April 19] The Rancho Murieta Association board last week approved a low-cost effort to address problems with Canada geese at Lake Clementia and heard a report on approaches to clean the midge flies out of Laguna Joaquin.
Low-cost approach to geese problem OK'd
The Maintenance Committee's plan for the geese, outlined by General Manager Greg Vorster, calls for establishing a grassy feeding area at Bass Lake to attract the geese and 24-inch-high soft vinyl fencing placed 12 or 18 inches from the waterline at Lake Clementia to keep geese from walking up onto the beach and leaving their droppings. The RMA would resume its practice of firing noisemakers to harass the geese at Clementia.
Maintenance Manager Rod Hart said the work would include Lake Clementia Amphitheater, where a number of events are scheduled this summer.
The effort would take 60 hours of maintenance staff time and $1,000 in materials, the board was told.
Vorster agreed with Director Martin Pohll’s concern that this will impact swimmers at the lake but asked, “Which is the greater interference – having to walk through a fenced area or having to step around goose droppings?”
“I like that a lot better than shooting them,” Director Cheryl McElhany said. Later, Director Sam Somers offered another approach: “And if this doesn’t work, can we go back to the 12-gauge shotguns? I have volunteers.”
“I have significant doubt that it’s going to work,” President Jim Moore said, “but it’s worth a try. ... If this doesn’t work, we’ll turn it over to Sam.”
Cleaning up Laguna Joaquin to address midge flies
More than a half-hour was spent discussing an ad-hoc committee’s approach to eradicating midge flies at Laguna Joaquin. Clouds of the bugs make summer torturous for residents in the townhouses that ring the lake and people using the walking paths.
Director Larry Shelton, who’s heading the committee with Community Services District Director Betty Ferraro, said a granular insecticide is more effective than the liquid insecticide CSD currently uses, but it costs 12 times as much, which CSD isn’t willing to spend. The granular chemical will allow them to target the lake beds where the flies are hatching instead of treating the entire lake, he said.
Shelton said CSD has some pumps that could be used to aerate Laguna Joaquin, replacing the RMA pumps there now, though the new pumps would require electrical work to address their voltage.
“We’re never going to maintain a healthy environment out here in this lake until we get decent aeration in it,” Shelton said. “The three things that are going to most critical are killing the current larvae that are already hatching in the bottom material, creating a good, healthy lake environment by oxygenation, and then restocking the lake with some native fish. And then the whole lake will take care of itself.”
Beyond adding some plants and maybe minor insecticide treatments, Shelton said he hoped cleaning up the lake will address the issue with midge flies going forward, basically eliminating the expense.
Shelton outlined plans for committee members and an RMA contribution of $13,500 for this year, which includes the cost of changing the pumps. Next year the RMA’s share would be $6,600, he said. After that, Shelton said he hopes the improved lakes will mean the preventive costs can go away.
It’s hoped Murieta Townhouses Inc. will contribute money to the effort, Shelton said, which would reduce the RMA and CSD obligations.
A couple of directors nudged Shelton about whether RMA should be getting into the business of chemicals and stocking fish and spending RMA money to save the CSD money.
“Thank you for your work on this,” President Jim Moore told Shelton. “No one has ever taken this problem head-on like you have.”
Progress on Greens Park for South
The board reported it has received a $69,456 payment from the North developers for parks funds to cover the first 22 lots of the Retreats, now under construction. The Mutual Benefit Agreement calls for the North developer to pay parks fees when the final subdivision map is recorded. That happened last August.
With the developer funds in hand, the board directed its two Parks Committee representatives to vote in favor of getting bids to develop the long-awaited Greens Park on the South. The 6-1 vote, with Director Martin Pohll dissenting, was echoed in a second vote, directing $19,815 in RMA parks reserve funds to help fund the park.
The Greens park has been on hold since 2008, when the cost estimate topped $700,000. The latest version is estimated at $330,000. The plan must be approved by the five-member Parks Committee, which includes two development representatives and one Community Services District member.
Full coverage of the Greens Park developments is upcoming.
In other business...
The board directed staff to begin exploring the possibility of building a shared fuel facility with the Community Services District to reduce fuel costs for both organizations. Board President Jim Moore said the CSD board is strongly interested in making this happen.
General Manager Greg Vorster said he was premature in his report last month that the county is moving ahead with a left-turn lane on Stonehouse Road for the Escuela Gate. He said the county, RMA and North developers will meet to discuss funding for the turn lane, which he said is estimated to cost $500,000 to $600,000.
A contract for the July 4 fireworks display was approved unanimously. The contract, with Pyro Spectaculars Inc., the same company that handled last year's show, is for $13,000, plus an estimated $2,284 for permits. President Jim Moore noted that the contract specifies there will be 1,114 fireworks launched in the show.
The board approved spending $17,000 to study the streets’ asphalt condition; $10,138 to buy a John Deere utility vehicle; up to $50,000 for two Ford F-150s, replacing trucks that are 18 years old; and $76,000 to buy two used trucks, replacing a one-ton truck and a dump truck.
The large soccer field at Stonehouse Park will be closed from the beginning of May through August to allow it to be replanted, Maintenance Manager Rod Hart reported.
Members of the board praised Summerfest’s Sunday food truck gatherings, which will continue through the summer at Lake Clementia.