Bly Tunnel

2017: See Current Issues page for updates on Pine Creek Restoration!! Water coming back, Super Ditch being filled in and Pine Creek flow restored.  This will take a few years, but 2017 begins the big projects.

November 2016:  Reports that the Bly Tunnel valve had been reopened are false.  We drove in and walked to tunnel adit and there was no water flowing nor evidence that there had been at any time since closing the valve in July of 2012.  We appreciate and will investigate any reports from people regarding Bly Tunnel and Pine Creek watershed.  Thank you for caring.  We will be on it if you report anything suspicious.



5-20-12  Okay, next up Pine Creek and … well… everything else that has anything to do with water.  From cloud seeding impacts to removing groundwater replenishment from septic tanks.  We are currently seeking information pertaining to Environmental Impact Statements and groundwater studies that were done to find out how much groundwater was removed from disposing of leach fields in Spalding and around the lake and take a look at the study that determines impacts the lake elevation.  These were required as a part of the EIR for the wastewater system in Spalding so the information should be readily available…. then again, maybe not.  But, we’re back to asking questions that generally come without answers but that hasn’t stopped us!  Please come to our meeting on Saturday June 2 at 2 PM at the General Store located on the corner of the main drag in Spalding and Mahogany Way.

2-17-12: From Eagle Lake Fishing Information and Network:  Eagle Lake Interagency Board met yesterday to discuss Eagle Lake.  Finally, the Eagle Lake Basin and watershed are going to get a complete water study.  Not only Pine Creek, but the east side as well.  BLM hydrologist is working on their end now.  Little is actually known other than the Vail Report so it is unknown just what condition the water is in now.  This has been needed for a long time and there will be a way in the future to determine the health of the aquifer’s (groundwater) as well as surface flow.  LNF is planning on reassessing the water diversions on Pine Creek….calling them “impounds”.  Regardless, this is water drawn away from Pine Creek and allowed to evaporate.  One of my main concerns is not the goose ponds out off county road 105 as it is with McCoy water pit which can easily have depths of 5+ ft of water.  At least LNF is going to look into it.  I’m certain that Eagle Lake Guardians are already on the move to get Pine Creek water back.  CDFG Paul Divine spoke about the catch rate having gone up over the last five years unexplainably.  People are catching more fish per day/hour in the last five years than they have since 1960 and CDFG has no idea why…simply have no explanation.  The fish have gotten smaller too due to the lake level being so low and loss of habitat….probably too many fish in the lake now so the educated guess is to reduce the yearly allotment of planted trout from 180,000 to 160,000…temporarily of course… I guess until the catch rate goes down or the fish get bigger.  Here is CDFG trap and creel study graphs for 2007-2011 regarding fish size. So, I guess you all are going to have to stop catching fish so CDFG can bring the catch rate back down….we wouldn’t want you to have too much fun catching fish now would we?  On the upside, I have observed some changes in the trout and what they are choosing to eat.  After cleaning hundreds of these trout every year and opening the stomachs of every one, things are the same yet different.  Some critters appear to be doing much better than others.  The sheer loss of habitat affects many different food sources…and water quality affects some critters more than others….less habitat and less food equals less fish.   The lake can only support so many.  Also, the official lake elevation markers are going up at Stones Landing shot from known points and within 1 inch of those shot down.  The official lake elevation on 2-16-12 is 5096 ft, up about 2 inches since last year.  That is pretty darned close to the green algae line I spoke of a couple days ago.  The Sierra snowpack is at 30% of normal (generically) but it is doubtful the lake will rise much this year. At this point, I am still concerned if Pine Creek will even flow to the lake this year if we don’t see a few more storms.  Only time will tell.  Due to the expected low level of the lake this upcoming season….Lassen County Sheriff Department doesn’t plan on marking any more rock piles than they have in the past but they do plan on giving the public very large signs at the launch ramps saying how dangerous the lake is and that not all hazards are marked so you better be careful…the lake isn’t safe.  So, that’s the meeting in a nutshell.  The highlight is definitely the groundwater study…and yes, Lassen County exports groundwater from Willow Creek Valley to Fish Springs, north Sparks and north Reno drinking water supply.   A historic reminder that each agency signed on to enforce the Eagle Lake Area Basin Plan based on the Vail Report  and it was the first topic of discussion. The rest of the Vail Report and Eagle Lake Basin Area Plan is coming to this website soon.  Guardians, we are going to have to keep an eye on the wind energy farm coming to Fredonyer Mt and Willow Creek Valley.  Some of these large wind towers may be in view from the lake.



I am proud of the number of responses that our guardians and others sent in this week.  We have a great group of loyal and caring people willing to make their voices heard…all that was needed was a way for folks to do it!    Now, we do need to be concerned with Eagle Lake water seeping or perculating out of the man made structure but this was one giant step in the right direction and just a small part of preserving Eagle Lake.  Next up, Pine Creek….and as of this date, we may not see Pine Creek flow…which will not allow for a spawn….so keep your fingers crossed we see some weather in the next month.  Way to go Guardians!!  But, we’ll be watching.

BLM’s Ken Collum plans on taking his “bureaurocratic” time before deciding to close the valve on the Bly Tunnel that drains water from Eagle Lake into Willow Creek for irrigation to downstream users.   Lassen County Board of Supervisors not too happy to hear that and issued this letter on 1-17-12


REPONSE FROM STATE WATER RESOURCE CONTROL BOARD TO BLM: “TURN OFF THE VALVE IN THE BLY TUNNEL.”  Thanks to over 100 personal requests for it!! But, we will 0nly believe it when the valve is closed off for good!!
And, we will have witnesses since this is still a matter of public trust and
WE the Public still don’t trust ’em!
GOOD WORK RUDY WHITMER AND DOC BATESON and all our guardians who responded.



The pipe is still running we need everyone to take a few minutes and
email the boss of the state water board and stress how important
it is to the Eagle lake trout to have water this winter to survive.
His email is  clicking on the 

email address should open a pre-written email &all you have
to  do is hit send or copy/paste the text into your email client. 


12-11-11:  Guardian investigators took Supervisor Larry Wosick (our hero) on a field trip this last weekend.  Apparently there really is a Bly Tunnel and it really is draining water out of Eagle Lake for irrigation in Willow Creek and all the way down the line to Honey Lake.  Interestingly only a handful of ranchers benefit from robbing the peoples lake called Eagle Lake and the flow appears to be greater than in any other time it has been inspected.  See below.

“Yesterday we took Larry Wosick & Rich (Mariner’s) on a all-day field trip.
First went to the adit.  BLM has put in a metal pipe about 6 to 7 foot diameter with metal bars so no one can enter.  This means the only way to get to the pipe is to enter the tunnel thru the outlet.  Next drove to the springs at the headwaters of Willow Creek. Last, hiked across the meadow to the outlet.  They were amazed at the amount of water flowing out of the tunnel. The Tues BOS meeting should be interesting.” EMAIL From Rudy & Louise Whitmer. Rudy Whitmer is one of the original complaintants and has donated his life to solving some of our problems.  He needs our help, Eagle Lake needs our help or we’re gonna be dried up just so some cattle rancher can grow alfalfa for his cattle….sounds like profit to me.  Told you all that this was not over because CDFG wrote a letter.  It appears that maybe CDFG has something to gain from not enforceing their position and letter of request.  These family run state departments have to go.  Seems Mr. Manji and his wife control CDFG’s Redding office…isn’t that a little conflict of interest??? And, yes, I do have that in writing.


Charles Rich of State Regional Water Quality Control Board is retired & another has taken his place.  I will have the letter up soon.  The Bly Tunnel valve remains open at this time and guardians & supervisors insisting it is closed asap.  More later but it doesn’t look like it will happen without MORE public pressure & complaints.  Rebecca is working on the politicians as we speak.

10-11- 2011 Lassen Supervisors Letter signed by Supervisor vice chairman Dahle.  We also have the support of UC Davis team in restoring Pine Creek for the health of our trout in which captive breeding has taken place for well over 60 years.

UPDATE 10-5-11: CDFG has written their letter to Mr. Charles Rich, Water Rights Division State Water Resource Control Board.  Out of professional courtesy, we will be posting that letter on Thursday to insure that Mr. Rich has received it!  DFG will be attending our Nov 1 at 2PM at Eagle Lake General Store in Spalding!

UPDATE 9-17-11:  Hard work pays off.  CDFG was holding strong to old opinions but finally decided to write a letter to BLM and the State water board recommending turning off the valve in the Bly Tunnel pipe.  Before turning off the valve, DFG said there will need to be a fish rescue in the tunnel and the downstream affects will be monitored closely for detramental affects.  When the letter comes out, we will upload it so you can read it too.  So, one problem solved, 8 million more to go guardians!! The battle for Pine Creek is going to make the Bly Tunnel issue look easy. 

9-7-11 update:  Our fundraiser made $3000 on Sunday!  We want to thank all our visitors and guardian members for being so generous in their donations!   We still have several opportunities to speak out and make our voices heard before we go for the gusto and we have a major hurdle to get over before anything can or will be done about the Bly Tunnel.

The Department of Fish and Game is our main obstacle.  There is no doubt that the lead man at DFG in Redding is going to down play the flow out the Bly Tunnel among other things regarding the condition of Eagle Lake which is and has been deemed “critical” by DFG at an elevation of 5098ft.  CDFG will most likely cite that the condition of the lake is great and that the biologist never had to post the catch and keep recommendation as well as how little water flows out the tunnel & through the wildlife area.   The down play will likely be concentrating on the yearly affect rather than the accumulated affect on Eagle Lake.

Eagle Lake is on the Commission Agenda at item 5.  An update on Eagle Lake by DFG Region 9  Neil Manji, Regional Manager.  Public can comment during this agenda item.  That is where we need your support.  If you live near Redding & have the time, we encourage you to come to this meeting.  We can guarantee that CDFG will NOT want to close the valve and they are going to stand by that.  The State Water Resource Control Board Division of Water Rights cannot order BLM to close the valve unless CDFG says they want it closed.  BLM already said he needed a court order to overturn the “local” judge’s decision back in the early 60’s that gave all these supposed water rights to federal water.  Did you read that right? “a Local judge”, “gave federal water rights”?  Well, now that seems a little strange now doesn’t it?  Well, this is one thing these agencies are hanging their hats on and one that supposedly needs to be overruled.   We are not out of our public options just yet.  Come to the meeting if you can. 

We know that CDFG will NOT support turning off the valve and will probably concentrate on the drought.  But we are going to voice our concerns and the accumulated affect of a miniscule amount of water at the meeting.  We will then let our Guardian members have the opportunity to let the right people know how many of the public don’t agree.  Eagle Lake, since 1986 has been duped for a little over 3 ft of water (at the lowest flow rates visually estimated) from the Bly Tunnel to support an artificial wildlife area and to fulfill these so called water rights which were taken away years ago.  We would not see the algae problems nor would we have any launching problems with that accumulation of 3 ft of water.  So, we will be updating more after next week. 

But, I have included some correspondences regarding the Bly Tunnel. 

Lassen County Supervisor Bob Pyle finally submitted into sending a letter to several agencies with his recommendation to close the valve.  Thanks Mr. Pyle, long in coming but something nonetheless.  We appreciate the effort you put into this letter.

CDFG Response to CA Fisheries and Water Unlimited regarding the watershed and Bly Tunnel.  The only other correspondence that was included was the historical 2009 letter from BLM’s Dayne Barron saying essentially no, they are not going to shut down the valve.  So, basically that sends the dog back to chasing his historic tail.  What happened with the newer evaluation by the water rights division?

Neil Manji, Regional Manager says in his letter that if you have any questions, call Paul Divine.  Who, by the way, responding to CAF&WU…his response consisted of the 2009 letter from BLM and a copy of Neil Manji’s 4-24-11 letter with a note saying call me if you have any questions.  A report regarding that conversation was simply a repeat & threepeat of the letters which gave no answers to the questions actually asked.   

We will be sending out that Call to Arms to let CDFG as well as the CDFG Commission know how the public feels about the decision not to close the valve on the Bly Tunnel.  They deserve to hear from you too and we urge you do respond.  We will be sending an email after the meeting to let you know who to contact.



AUGUST 19, 2011 Rebecca & I have been going to meetings this wee regarding the Bly Tunnel Discussion.  First was the Lassen County Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.  By the end of the discussion three supervisors agreed that they needed to write a letter of concern regarding closing the valve on the pipe that drains Eagle Lake water into Willow Creek.   BLM supervisor Ken Collum basically insisted he needed a court order from a judge telling him to shut off the valve because a local judge gave the water rights under a case called Flemming vs Bennett back in time….and that transaction also leaves some doubt as to whether a local judicial decision could even decide who got federal water. (?)  We and several others are working on this issue and will fill you in once we’re set into action.  Mr. Collum of BLM, was reminded at least three times at that meeting that Eagle Lake Guardians have a request on his desk for permission to have BLM escort our hydrologist go down and conduct a physical flow test to show how much water is flowing out the pipe AS WELL as Isotope testing to determine just how much lake water is ending up IN Willow Creek….Guardians WILL PAY for the water tests and flow determination.  Our request has gone unanswered.  Rebecca attended another meeting in which the possibility of getting some sort of water test going is getting a great deal of attention so we’ll see what the entities come up with.  It does sound encouraging so our pressure and concerns are beginning to be dealt with.  We are always happy to put more public pressure on any agency that needs it, so get ready Guardians, we’re gonna need to do that…most likely, CDFG isn’t going to like losing Eagle Lake water considering they are in the process of securring more Barron Ranch property in Willow Creek Valley.  That will most likely come up at the DFG Commission meeting in Redding Sept 15th (see our calendar).  On the upstream side, we are working on LNF.  Diversions of Pine Creek water AND other water that is diverted from the northern and northwestern drainages.  We’ll have instructions of what we need our guardians to do, so stay tuned, we’re on a roll.  You see, the difference between the Guardians and the Government is that we guardians work at the speed of the Internet, the government works at the speed of an overloaded 56Kdial-up connection…you know, some pages simply don’t load.  But, we are working on improving their connection.

8-11-11 Senator Gaines Letter to CDFG!! Okay, here we go.  We’ll have to wait and see what CDFG does next.   This battle is nowhere near over even if we get the valve turned off.  Doing so, will help but we still need a water study on this side of the lake.  Construction in the old days also caused some damage, we need to find out how much.  BLM had no respect for Senator Gaines Letter, but we made sure he had his own copy to take back to the office and place next to our request for permission to do water testing….which our offer still stands….to BLM or Lassen County if needed.

AUGUST 6, 2011

There is a water rights complaint form on Guardians website, I urge you to download it and send to the address on the form.  Rebecca filled out the information you may need already…so read, state YOUR concerns & mail it in.  We will get other info online ASAP….I’m working on it. 
Rebecca & I spent three days in Sacramento shaking things up & putting a face to our cause.  This is our chance to get something done about … first and foremost… the Bly Tunnel valve.  And, we are also hoping to pursue an isotope and/or ambulant water study.  If we get the Senator’s support we can get this job done….we will still have a fist fight with fish and game….and that is where our next concerns about the February fish kill…which no doubt will happen again this winter if the lake ices over like normal.  We attended the fish and game commission who said they didn’t know any of this was happening…which is normal language from bureaucrats.  So, we are on the September commission meeting agenda in September in Redding & I will have that date and time later…somewhere around the 15th.  Been too busy to unpack everything just yet.  Please attend, let’s see if we can’t flood the gates so to speak.  I will also be putting email addresses up on guardians website to voice your concerns to all parties in the next couple of days. Thanks & we’ll be in touch!  & we’ll update a newsletter once we see some results….remember, this lake belongs to CA taxpayers and the public.  We should be hearing about the letter when it is written.  We have supplied the senator with all the information.

MAY AND JUNE 2011 COMMUNICATIONS REGARDING THE BLY TUNNEL.  OLD INFO STILL LOCATED ON EAGLE LAKE FISHING DOT NET.  May 2011 Letter from Lassen County Board of Supervisors, Chairman Jim Chapman to State Water Resource Control Board Consultant Charles Rich regarding clarification of the document regarding water rights to Eagle Lake water.  Basically, LCBS want the water to keep flowing so everyone downstream of Eagle Lake is happy.  Those using the lake, too bad for you.  Lassen Co Board of Supervisors appear to be choosing their cohorts over the tourism trade Eagle Lake used to provide.  Could it be because some supervisors might be benefiting from Eagle Lake water? Could it be that Eagle Lake water flow and CA Department of Fish and Game Willow Creek Wildlife Area go hand in hand…legal or not legal?  Who was the biologist(s) who authorized that & went along with all that?  Supported by what data and facts?  What happened was that no one was supposed to find out and all would be well.  Thanks to Rudy Whitmer and Doc Bateson for filing their complaints.

JUNE 2011 RESPONSE FROM STATE WATER BOARD REGARDING WATER RIGHTS, LACK THERE OF AND DEFINITIONS OF THE WATER LAWS.  The state water board still on the side of Eagle Lake.  Lassen County Board of Supervisors, BLM & CDFG working against her.

California Fisheries and Water Unlimited