With its vast ocean views and wealth of vacation rentals, the Irish Beach subdivision on the southern Mendocino Coast seems a perfect getaway for those seeking peace and solitude far from madding tourist crowds. But the former sheep ranch, purchased by lumberman and developer Bill Moores Sr. in the early 1960s and split into some 450 parcels, also is embroiled in a yearslong legal battle between some of Moores’ descendants and the public water system he established in 1967 to slake the subdivision’s thirst.
Desperate to save plummeting water reserves in Lake Mendocino, a Mendocino County water agency is lobbying the state to dramatically reduce the amount that must be released downstream into the Russian River for fish and people.
It looks as if the last oyster may finally be shucked at the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. by the end of December, judging by what both sides in the long legal fight over the future of the farm said in federal court Monday. Then again, maybe not.
State water officials Tuesday will be considering new regulations aimed at cracking down on people who have ignored orders to stop diverting water from several California streams, including the upper Russian River.
A state appeals court has restored the authority of California water regulators to direct reductions in cold-weather sprays by grape growers and other waterfront farmers along the Russian River that have led to deaths of endangered species of salmon.