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Update on Dam Construction and Water Levels

02/16/17
Lake Perris Update of Dam Construction

Hello all,

First of all I want to thank all of our visitors both new and loyal for using Lake Perris SRA. Many people who have never been here label Lake Perris as a place with negative past stories, some of which are much exaggerated and are far from the truth. For those that use this Lake they know the hidden jewel that has amazing topography, non-existent mid-week crowds, windless mornings for glass wakeboarding sessions or a stand up paddle lap, trophy Largemouth Bass, prolific pan fish, staff led hikes and interpretive programs for kids, great trails, equestrian and bike routes. Most importantly, it is a place that looks like no other when you drive up the hill and settle into the bowl of Lake Perris which is surrounded by mountains and hills. The 8000 acres of open space hides the urban view of roughly 280,000 residents, homes, warehouses, and sprawl just to the north and southwest of the lake. My staff loves Lake Perris and each day we attempt to meet your expectations. Thank you again for your use and support and please don’t keep the secret to yourself. Tell or bring a friend!

It is hard to believe but Lake Perris SRA has now been down in elevation for almost 12 years. The good news is that construction has reached many milestones and is on track to be complete in late 2017 / early 2018. At that time, we expect the lake to rise back up to its normal elevation (Approximately 40 feet vertically from what it is today. This would essentially open all 4 launch ramps, allow for high speed travel around the island, create many spots at Bernasconi, power cove, and the island for boaters to park on the beach and will create in my opinion a world record capable Largemouth Bass fishery. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will be installing huge rock piles, concrete tubes for catfish spawning, and tree piles. These added features along with a huge expansion of new trees that have grown since 2005 will be underwater and will create a vast spawning area for gamefish. For those that fished Perris in the late 90’s and early 2000’s they will tell you that fishing the east end and Bernasconi during spawning was about as good as it gets with 40 fish days not uncommon. Here is a past and current timeline (Future is always subject to change based on conditions)

2005- Lake Elevation was lowered by the Division of Dams and Safety (25 Vertical Feet) due to computer modeling exposing a possible vulnerability if a large earthquake occurred on the San Jacinto fault line. This eliminates 2 of the 4 launch ramps, ADA fishing dock, Power cove and reduced boating capacity. In response to the impacts we worked with several agencies and extended launch ramp #5, created an ADA walk way to the marina, allowed vehicles and ADA fisherman to use Sail Cove, Irrigated the east end to preserve trees, bass habitat, and endangered birds. DFW added over 100 tree structures to increase bass spawning success. Modified Moreno Beach to allow boaters to park on the sand.

2005-2008 Reconnaissance studies determining the proper remediation recommendation

2008-2011 Environmental process, stakeholder meetings, spot testing

2012-2014 Contract preparation, advertising, award

2015- Construction commenced

2015- Drought depletes southern reserves. An additional 17 vertical feet was pulled from Perris for water distribution. Lake Perris now sits 42’ vertical feet below full pool. Launch ramp #5 is no longer viable.

Today: A strong water year is allowing the Department of Water Resources to possibly refill the 17’ that was used during the drought. It has already increased approximately 3 feet in the last two weeks and is expected to continue to rise in elevation possibly allowing use of launch ramp number 5 (In addition to #6) which would greatly help the summer operation.

Future: Lake Perris may receive additional water (Up to about 10 feet in the next few months). We will be starting a launch ramp parking lot consolidation to eliminate wait times, repave, and restripe 5,6, and 7. This job will also add wipe down lanes, speed up quagga re-seals and increase parking spaces. In addition we have already been trimming trees and removing possible navigation hazards in areas that will become the beach areas as the water rises.

Dam Construction should be complete in late 2017 / early 2018. Bike path would now be a complete circle of 12 miles due to new roads created by construction paths near outlet structure. Duck hunting would re-open once blinds and created by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and ample water in the east end allows for safe backdrops.

Once again, thank you for using Lake Perris. I am excited to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know many of you have also been patiently waiting to get back the full potential of this amazing recreational playground.

Sincerely,

John Rowe
Lake Perris Superintendent


Closed Areas in Red:



 This project has caused a little confusion about what services will be impacted. The dam construction will be a three year project and will just close the dam, south side of the park and Bernasconi. The contractor will use Bernasconi materials where they will be blasting rock and also using fill (sand/mud) from the undeveloped east end of the park. In addition, an internal road will be constructed and used to transport all of the materials to the face of the dam so that Ramona Expressway will not be congested. There will be hundreds of thousands of truckloads of transported materials during the 3 year job. Although rock climbing (Big Rock) will be closed because it is within the path of these deliveries and adjacent to the quarry, it will not be used or destroyed. There will be no lake closures or limitations on areas you can fish due to the project. The lake / water will not be used at all for the project. Our developed campground, group camp, hunting zone, picnic areas, 2 swim beaches, Indian museum, equestrian camp, and 60% of equestrian / multiuse trails will remain open during the dam project.

 

Addendum: 

For more information on the damn remediation project please visit the California Department of Water Resources at the Perris Dam Remediation Program site, and our own Lake Concerns page.