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Lake Conditions and Lake Elevation
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Surface temps started out pushing 54F off Wildcat and by noon I had close to 55F on my depth finder. Visibility was around 2 ft looking down into the water. It was quite cloudy off the west side. A couple patches of algae here and there. Rock’s along the shoreline are covered and slippery so be careful wading. I’ll be covering some water this week. Stay tuned.
The lake is 1.34ft lower than it was last year at the same time so be careful out there the rocks are closer to the surface and many natural rock piles are not marked or buoyed. We’ve had cooler weather the last couple weeks. Not a lot of rain but we’ve seen some winds. The winds have the lake pretty stirred up right now. Clarity will be lower but we hope to see it clear up some for the weekend. It’s not as bad as I have seen it in the past few years, and hopefully it’s wind driven and will settle out fairly quickly. Surface temps still cool enough to keep fish in 6 to 10ft of water as they cruise the shoreline structures.
I personally believe the lake simply can’t digest the nutrient load any more considering the low level and that the number of cattle for grazing in the watershed had been increased, not reduced while the lake elevation was historically low. Funny how long we remained somewhat clearer without cattle on the south basin for 2019 season. The algae bloom was short like normal years. But algae remained a constant around the shoreline in some areas thru November and into early December. Spalding has been a chocolate soup bowl since July and barely got better. See the Sept video showing the discoloration and defined line from the air. Continues to be the worst water conditions for this lake that I have ever seen it in over 55 years. Preliminary results indicate we’re quite a bit higher in phosphorus in all three basins than target levels for the water board. Apparently, if the water board can’t reach the target range after all these years, there is a reason. The north basin water doesn’t appear to be very inviting for recreational opportunities at this time, perhaps a good winter will help. Eagle Lake Guardians are assisting Lahontan in sample collections as much as possible. We’ll be checking.
Humans can no longer be to blame for nutrients since the communities have been on wastewater systems for over 10 years now except that the seasonal cabins at Eagle’s Nest that remain on septic tanks and leach fields. The lake has gone from its once crystal clear waters to mucky green in summer for the last several years. No longer the lake we all knew. For over 20 years water quality tests were “required” weekly by DFW. Since Paul Divine they are rarely conducted…even through our HISTORIC LOW LAKE ELEVATIONS. The tests (decades of them) were for temp every 5 ft to 50ft, pH, dissolved 02, salinity and conductivity every week. DFW now down to once a year…if that. Upon request, DFW sent me to Lahontan, to the wrong person at Lahontan and for the water tests being conducted on the surface. LoL The ones I was collecting. However, it is of upmost concern about dissolved oxygen at levels deeper than a couple feet. The upper water column is always good for DO due to the winds, but the lower levels are essential for the trout in summer. Also, indicates of how well the lake is doing, however, not conducted regularly any longer. Wow, decades of flowing data and changes and now to stop. One would think the water quality testing would be more critical now than ever. LoL. No data, no problem. USFS has not abided by the federal standards laid out by grazing management, BLM has not conducted water testing in the north basins, however are supposed to abide by the same standards as USFS. Nature can’t always fix a man made problem.
The long living tui chub aren’t going to go anywhere either. Only get to be a bigger problem regarding biomass in the lake in the future and too big to be food for a trout in this lake to eat. Lahontan is now very aware of the cause for the blue/green algae and is working on a solution for the future, however, they have said the same rhetoric for the last 40 years. But, now the residents, Eagle Lake Guardians and others are holding these agencies accountable. As the lake rises, more nutrients may continue to cause problems until A) the lake stabilizes at it’s normal level (another 8ft of water), & B) nutrients are reduced. Rotting vegetation from low water also has an affect when water rises but winds and wave action generally removes that to shore pretty quickly. We were told that the ash and retardant would be tested for, however, it has not. If DFW and LNF don’t know what the problem is, well, Lahontan will be finding out for them, but the people are going to have to keep the fire burning. If that means assisting the state water board actually conduct the tests, analyze the DNA of the culprits, then that’s what will be done by Eagle Lake Guardians. After severely low water levels and, after 10 years of drought conditions, potentially rising water, many things can have an affect and together we could see problems for a while. We’ll know something before next grazing season, so says the water board. LoL. I believe the lake needs a break from cattle grazing on the shoreline for a few years.
1-4-19 Official Lassen County Surveyor Don Willis lake elevation 5094.33ft. Up 1.32″ in the last month. 10.56″ below last year at the same time. (Moisture in December in Spalding was 1.67″ as per my weather station at home)
5-1-18: Lassen County measurement 5096.12 (Peak elevation of 5096.7ft in 2017 was on May 20th)
9-4-17: 5095.41ft and lost .94″ since 8-6-17
8-6-17: EAGLE LAKE is dropping at a rate of 1.425″ per week since July 2nd. It is now at 5095.73′ and has lost 7 &1/8″ during that time (about a month).
6-2-17: As per Doc Bateson our lake elevation perfectionist; 5096ft 7 and 5/8ths inches. That’s 5096.635’ it has dropped .065’ or .78” (a little over 3/4″) in 13 days.
4-18-17 Unofficial measurement at the Spalding ramp was 5096.54ft. Winds were blowing lightly so the elevation could be slightly off. Creeks are slowing down some now so we are probably going to see a slow down of rising. Any storm passing through can have flow pick up.
4-3-17 Lassen County Official Measurement: “We made our monthly visit to Eagle Lake this morning and found that the lake has come up 1.38 feet over the past month. The elevation at the Gallatin Ramp is currently 5095.78 feet above sea level and the lake has come up 4.99 feet since November 1st of last year. It is also 3.22 feet higher than this same time one year ago.
3-29-17: 5095.64′ Measured from the elevation tags at Spalding ramp. A gain of about 2inches in 4 days. Flows in Pine Creek subsiding a little this week from last week, so we expect to see a little slower rise unless a storm passes through.
3-25-17: 5095.45ft (unofficial) Measured between the elevation plate screws at the ramp in Spalding. A gain of around 6″ from the increased flow of Pine Creek and just over an inch of rain on 3-21.
3-19-17: 5094.948 as per Doc Bateson. Up a couple inches in the last few days. We have about 5/8′ to resach 5095ft. Up a little over 4ft from our lowest water level last year and about 2 1/5ft above last years highest level. So we are doing ok, but could sure use a lot more.
3-8-17: 5094.5ft according to the markers set by Doc Bateson at the Spalding ramp. Up around a foot in the last month.
2-11-17: 5093.38FT As per Doc Bateson. 2.52ft higher than Dec 3, 2016 (which had held due to Oct/Nov rains). 18.29″ of moisture since July 1 here at the house in Spalding. So the springs were still pumping good over winter too.
7-3-16: 5092.23; almost 6″ lower than 5-30, but around 6″ higher than last year at the same time. As per Doc Bateson.
5-30-16 5092.72: as per Doc Bateson, up 1/4 inch since 5-1.
5-1-16 5092.7FT Officially as per Doc Bateson, the lake is only 5.76 inches above last year’s elevation, May 2, 2015. Expect similar conditions to last season. We still have 27 days to go. Hopefully we see more showers and hold on to that 5+ bonus inches to help get us through the season launching!
3-19-16 5092.43FT. UP 1.835FT SINCE 11-22-15. 2.52 INCHES HIGHER THAN MAY 2 2015. As per Doc Bateson’s report
2015 LAKE ELEVATION
10-18-15: 5090.61 and holding
9-30-15 5090.6 ft
8-16-15: 5091.2ft as per Doc Bateson’s measurements. We lost 2 1/2 inches in 2 weeks and are only 2.4 inches away from our lowest recorded level in 1935.
8-1-15:5091.4ft as per Doc Bateson’s measurements. We had 2.41 inches of rain in my backyard in July (2.68″ at Spalding’s sewer ponds 2 miles NW) and the south end had more than we did up north but it helped counter evaporation.
7-4-15: 5091.70ft as per doc Bateson.
6-20-15: 5091.83ft; now just 9.96 inches from our lowest recorded level in 1935. (lost approx 4″ in the last 20 days.
6-1-15: 5092.16ft now just over a foot from lowest recorded level in 1935
5-2-15: 5092.22ft as per Doc Bateson. About 1 ft 3 inches above lowest recordered level in 1935.
July 28, 2013 5094.44 ft, about 5094 ft 5 inches.
July 7, 2013 appears to be about 2-3 inches below 5095ft…. or 5094ft 9-10 inches or so. Unofficial. Going by the end of the cement at Spalding ramp being out of the water & taking chances that the end of the cement is at 5095ft elevation.
June 1, 2013 was around 5095ft 1 inch. About 6″ of cement in the water at Spalding ramp.
4-11-13 5095.5 ft (unofficial by the markers at Spalding ramp)….I guess my estimate was only 3/4 of an inch off. Not bad for a girl ehe?
Ending Nov 2012 5093.70