Wild Diamond Vineyards and Hidden Valley Lake impacts


Wild Diamond and HVL

This is in response to Mr. Ron Rose’s rebuttal to my editorial commentary regarding the negative impacts of the Wild Diamond Vineyard which I asserted previously. Yes, Mr. Rose I do not live in Hidden Valley Lake, but find it one of several beautiful areas of Lake County, and I do have several friends that live there.

However not living there does not exclude me from caring about our environment especially when its regarding Lake County, seemly unlike yourself. Mr. Rose it seems that you were not following any of the scoping, planning commissioner or BOS meetings regarding this vineyard project, otherwise you would know the concerns that were becoming serious enough for the HVL residents, one of which you jokingly could not deduce as a smoke nuisance. The smoke was coming from the burning of the tree stumps and brush that were removed from the grading process, which continued for months.

It’s unbelievable that you would also state that the California EPA wont let farmers spray any type of hazardous chemicals. What are herbicides, pesticides and sulfur considered in your estimation?

If you think vineyards are not having a negative effect on the environment, I would strongly suggest that you enlighten yourself to what’s going on in Napa/Sonoma counties currently. Napa/Sonoma county residents are finally waking up to the destruction of the wild life habitat, soil erosion, pollution of streams and reservoirs, landslides, clear cutting of hundreds of acres of forests, traffic, noise, dust, and binge drinking tourism. Vineyard development is out of control and the billionaires are pushing out the millionaires and the foreigners are now taking over.

Napa ranks 12th in adult cancers and first in childhood cancers. Sonoma county is not far behind. There are several grade schools in Sonoma county that have to wash down their playgrounds and playground equipment due to chemical drift from nearby vineyards.

It’s significant to note that the Napa chapter of the Sierra Club as well as others groups have now currently filed suit against one particular vineyard (Walt Ranch Vineyard) because of the residents concerns over the negative environmental impact it will create, which seems odd considering these were almost the same concerns the HVL residents had, but seemly no serious opposition from the Lake County chapter of the Sierra Club was hardly noted. Gee, I wonder why?

I believe that some of this vineyard development in this county and elsewhere is fueled by one’s ego, having one’s name on a bottle of California wine is now fashionable. However, in regards to the owner of the Wild Diamond vineyards, he is nothing more than a carpetbagger from out of state, here to exploit our water, cheap land, lax environmental restrictions and little government opposition. That being either case, Mr. Rose, we can expect the same negative impacts to our county as that of Sonoma and Napa in the near future if out of control vineyard development is allowed to continue unregulated. Toxic blue green algae in this lake seems to have increased with the expansion of vineyard development in the last 10 years or so.


Regarding your comments about Mr. Zalusky. I have no reason to question his integrity and his factual assertion that his report was tampered with, especially since he testified under oath and that his reputation was in jeopardy. Your past experiences or your personal opinion of him certainly has no bearing or relevance regarding this issue.

Despite what you think Mr. Rose, the HVL residents came away with very little or no concessions for their health and safety, either from the county or the developer in question. The planning department and the BOS main goal is to generate as much tax revenue as possible, no matter what the cost. Is that necessarily always doing the right thing?

Thomas Nickel, Lakeport