Concerns raised about Eagle Lake levels
“We are very concerned about the way the lake level has been dropping for the last eight years,” Andresen said. “It has never recouped from one year to the next. There are a lot of homeowners on the north part of the lake with a lot of money invested in their property. It’s gotten to the point where you can’t even get a boat out on the county ramp.”
Lahontan Heights is located on the north end of Eagle Lake, across from Mariner’s Resort. Andresen said the homeowners association represents roughly 15 acres of properties with 32 homeowners.
District 1 Supervisor Bob Pyle also gave a brief presentation about the lake levels during the non-agenda boardmember reports portion of the meeting.
The board agendized a public information workshop on Eagle Lake set for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20. Pyle said the meeting would help debunk some of the rumors about the lake as well as solicit input about what the county can do to combat the water level problem.
Pyle said he assumed the control over the water levels at Eagle Lake fell under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Water Resources, the State division of Water Rights or the Bureau of Land Management. In order to clarify and give appropriate information about the lake’s dwindling water levels, Pyle said he wanted the board to set up an informational workshop for the community to cut down on the spread of rumors and false information.
Pyle said the water is controlled and regulated by state and federal agencies. He said essentially, it’s a gray area as to who technically controls the water in Eagle Lake. He said it was his opinion that the water levels are controlled by the Division of Water Rights for California, as part of the State Water Resources Control Board. Pyle said that the Bly irrigation tunnel, which was sealed up in 1986, was technically under the jurisdiction of the BLM. The BLM’s Web site said the tunnel, combined with a drought, was almost responsible for the extinction of the lake in the 1930’s.
Pyle also explained one of the more obvious reasons why the lake levels were so low is because the county is currently in the middle of a drought.
“The ultimate determinant of the lake levels will always be Mother Nature,” said District 5 Supervisor Jack Hanson.
Pyle said it’s been determined by several people that the lake has dropped a quarter of an inch to three eighths of an inch each year because of the tunnel.
Susanville engineer and partial owner of NST Engineering Fred Nagel addressed the board by saying more concrete research needs to be done regarding the lake.
“I’m trying to remain fairly objective on this, “Nagel said. “There has to be an independent study done, because there’s so much conflicting data, and so many rumors and fairytales. The trouble is it can’t be done by the private sector because nobody has any authority to do anything out there.”
Nagel added it should be the responsibility of the state to sponsor the study.
Pyle also said he was aware of a complaint filed by some of the residents recently about the lake levels. He said that complaint has been forwarded to the BLM, yet as of the Dec. 9 meeting, he hadn’t seen a response.
“In the meantime, we are trying to gather information to find out who the responsible party is,” Pyle said.
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