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Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellon shared her expertise with citizens as part of the City’s #AskAnExpert series on Instagram. Photo: City of San Diego/Instagram

San Diegans #AskAnExpert Reservoir Recreation Questions

Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellon shared her expertise with citizens during the City of San Diego’s #AskAnExpert series on Instagram as part of the City’s community outreach to citizens. The City regularly offers the opportunity for the public to ask employees about its services including parks, libraries, streets, and water.

“We find that it’s a great way to get general information about City services to the public,” said Arian Collins, public information officer with the San Diego Public Utilities Department.

Castellon answered several questions about the recreation offered at the City’s lakes and reservoirs.

Can you rent boats at City of San Diego reservoirs?

Yes, the reservoirs do have boat rentals through the concessionaires. You can view the hours of operation and rentals fees online.

Social media outreach gives City of San Diego residents access to experts like Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellano. Photo: City of San Diego/Instagram

Social media outreach gives City of San Diego residents access to experts like Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellano. Photo: City of San Diego/Instagram

Is stand-up paddleboarding allowed at any City of San Diego reservoir?

Yes, Hodges Reservoir offers stand-up paddleboarding on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from the beginning of February through the end of October.

Can you swim at City of San Diego reservoirs?

No. What are commonly referred to as the San Diego City lakes are actually impounding reservoirs that are part of the City’s municipal water-supply system. The State Water Resources Control Board approves the different recreational activities that can occur on our reservoirs and swimming is not included in our current domestic water supply recreational permit.

Can you water ski at the City of San Diego reservoirs?

Yes, San Vicente Reservoir offers water-skiing and wakeboarding from May through October Thursday through Sunday.

Residents who would like to keep up with the latest information about the City’s reservoirs and lakes as well as other City of San Diego services can learn more at the City of San Diego website, as well as follow the City’s Instagram account for more #AskAnExpert opportunities.

Reservoirs Begin Reopening to Recreational Use Countywide

City of San Diego lakes and reservoirs previously closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic are now in the process of reopening for public recreation.

El Capitan Reservoir and Upper Otay Reservoir reopened on June 6. San Vicente Reservoir will open to the public June 13.

Three reservoirs will re-open in July: Lake Hodges on July 1, Sutherland on July 3, and Barrett on July 8.

Miramar, Murray, and Lower Otay Reservoirs have opened in mid-May.

The San Vicente Reservoir boat dock will welcome visitors again starting June 13. Photo: City of San Diego reservoirs begin reopening

Reservoirs Begin Reopening to Recreational Use Countywide

City of San Diego lakes and reservoirs previously closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic are now in the process of reopening for public recreation.

“A lot of San Diegans have a passion for fishing and boating, and we’ve been able to partner with the County [of San Diego] to reopen all of our lakes and reservoirs to the public,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

El Capitan Reservoir and Upper Otay Reservoir reopened on June 6. San Vicente Reservoir will open to the public June 13.

Three reservoirs will re-open in July: Lake Hodges on July 1, Sutherland on July 3, and Barrett on July 8.

Miramar, Murray, and Lower Otay Reservoirs have opened in mid-May.

Standup paddleboarding will return to Lake Hodges on Saturday, July 1. Photo: City of San Diego reservoirs begin reopening

Standup paddleboarding is available at Lake Hodges on Saturday, July 1. Photo: City of San Diego

New safety and cleaning protocols initiated with the re-openings in May will remain in place at all reservoirs. The reservoirs will be open during regular business hours for walking, jogging, cycling, fishing, and boating. Normal fishing and boating fees will apply.

“As we have seen from the thousands of calls, emails, and letters to City Hall, fishing is more than a hobby, it’s a passion,” said San Diego City Councilmember Scott Sherman. “Our lakes and reservoirs are too important of a recreational asset to keep closed and I am thankful they will be opened soon.”

For more information, go to https://www.sandiego.gov/coronavirus

Lake Jennings reopens for recreation and fishing June 13

TCatfish are being restocked this week in Lakes 3 and 6 at Santee Lakes for happy fishermen. Photo: Courtesy Santee Lakes/Padre MWD

Catfish are being restocked this week in Lakes 3 and 6 at Santee Lakes for happy fishermen. Photo: Courtesy Santee Lakes/Padre Dam MWD

Lake Jennings in Lakeside, operated by the Helix Water District, will also reopen for recreation and day-use on Saturday, June 13. Hours are limited to weekends from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fishing and day-use visitors must wear masks and adhere to social distancing. The Bait and Tackle Shop will be open with restrictions. Shore fishing and private boat launching are available, but no boat rentals, night fishing, or fish stocking at this time.

In addition, Lake Jennings recently reopened for camping on June 5 with restrictions in place limiting use to every other campsite, and only by members of the same household. See the complete list of restrictions at the Lake Jennings website.

“We are thrilled to be able to reopen in compliance with the County regulations,” said Kira Haley, Lake Jennings recreation manager. “We really appreciate your understanding in this difficult time while we continue to work hard to keep our community safe.”

The public will be asked to observe COVID-19 preventative measures, including mandates requiring face coverings and physical distancing.

Santee Lakes, operated by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, expanded recreational use including fishing with some restrictions on May 16. All activities with physical distancing are allowed including jogging, bike riding, roller-skating. A facial covering is not required during physical activities but must be in your possession. Physical distancing and possession of a facial covering are required while fishing. The lake’s campsites have remained open throughout the pandemic, but campers must practice social and physical distancing while on site.

County of San Diego to help cover costs

The cost of reopening the City of San Diego’s additional reservoirs is approximately $1 million. Funding identified through a tentative cost-sharing agreement with the County of San Diego will be limited to covering enhanced staffing costs for ensuring public health is maintained in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the City Council and San Diego County Board of Supervisors will need to approve the agreement.

Southern California Edison Wants its New, Huge 770 MW Battery Storage Procurement Online Fast

Southern California Edison signed seven contracts for a total of 770 megawatts of lithium-ion battery-based energy storage — to enhance the regional grid’s reliability and replace four large coastal once-through cooling plants.

It’s one of the nation’s largest energy storage procurements and an indication of utility acceptance of massive-scale battery storage. Late last year, the California Public Utilities Commission urged California’s power providers and community choice aggregators to procure 3.3 GW of storage and PV-plus-storage systems to solve grid congestion and to compensate for gas and coal plant retirements.

Remarkably, SCE wants these energy storage resources online by August 2021, an aggressive timeline unthinkable for any type of fossil fuel project of this size.

Lake Hodges Dam Opens Its Floodgates

In an unusual move necessitated by last week’s prodigious record-setting rainfall, Lake Hodges Reservoir this week opens its valves sending millions of gallons of water down the San Dieguito Riverbed towards the Pacific Ocean.

Reservoirs, Lakes Remain Closed to Fishing Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Although San Diego County’s lakes and reservoirs remain closed to fishing and other recreational activities for safety reasons due to the coronavirus pandemic, staff and volunteers continue to work. Crews are maintaining facilities, providing security, and sharing photos of wildlife and native blooms enjoying the arrival of spring.

923 Million Gallons of Water Released From Hodges Reservoir After Storm

Because of recent heavy rainfall, the city of San Diego Saturday began releasing about 923 million gallons of water from Hodges Reservoir into the San Dieguito River, which may eventually lead to the ocean, city officials said.

The dam release began at about 11 a.m. Saturday and will continue for about seven days or until the reservoir elevation is near 295 feet, spokesperson José Ysea said.

For safety reasons, the California Division of Safety of Dams has determined that the water level at Hodges Reservoir should not exceed 295 feet, which is 20 feet below spillway elevation, Ysea said. This requires periodic water releases from Hodges Reservoir.

Along with the rest of California's lakes and reservoirs, Lake Jennings is currently closed to fishing. Photo: Lake Jennings

Reservoirs, Lakes Remain Closed to Fishing Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Although San Diego County’s lakes and reservoirs remain closed to fishing and other recreational activities for safety reasons due to the coronavirus pandemic, staff and volunteers continue to work. Crews are maintaining facilities, providing security, and sharing photos of wildlife and native blooms enjoying the arrival of spring.

Popular overnight campsites remain open at Santee Lakes, operated by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. Photo: Padre Dam MWD

Popular overnight campsites remain open at Santee Lakes, operated by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Popular overnight campsites remain open at Santee Lakes, owned and operated by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District.

“Camper well-being is important to us and Santee Lakes didn’t want to displace people,” said Melissa McChesney, Padre Dam communications manager. She said that includes long-term campers who spent winter at the lake.

“It is important to note that Santee Lakes is not promoting recreation at this time, and the day use section of the park is closed,” said McChesney. “The park is able to provide a safe alternative to any RVers currently on the road in California because we have full electric, water, sewer and WiFi at each site. Santee Lakes is currently only taking reservations for self-contained RVs.”

Campers can reserve space for a maximum of six months. McChesney said campers should still shelter in place and practice physical distancing at the 300 campsites and 10 cabins.

At Santee Lakes, campers can also enjoy spring birdwatching. Two hundred and thirty different bird species have been spotted at the lake.

Nature takes flight at Lake Jennings

Two of the three resident bald eagles at Lake Jennings. Photo: Lake Jennings

At Lake Jennings, Recreation Manager Kira Haley says eight volunteers continue to live and work from their campground homes in recreational vehicles and campers. She said their days remain “pretty typical” even though they see more wildlife and not people.

“Our volunteers handle emerging maintenance, take calls from the public, and provide security,” said Haley. “They’re happy to be there, not having interaction with people during this time.”

Although new camping reservations are closed, Haley said campers currently at the Lake Jennings campgrounds were allowed to finish their stay. She said only one person, from out of state, will be the only camper at the entire park through the end of April.

A wood duck and her ducklings swimming across Santee Lakes. Photo: Santee Lakes/Facebook

Haley and her volunteers are sharing photos of the active wildlife and plant growth on social media. Currently, there are three bald eagles at the lake.

On the Lake Jennings Facebook page, Haley noted with a photo of a bald eagle in flight, “Lake Jennings Social Distancing: Always keep an eagle’s wingspan between you and others.” According to National Geographic, a bald eagle’s typical wingspan measures from six to eight feet – the recommended social distancing minimum.

According to National Geographic, a bald eagle’s typical wingspan measures from six to eight feet – the recommended social distancing minimum. Photo: Lake Jennings/Facebook

City of San Diego lakes and reservoirs closed until further notice

Paddleboarding-Lake Hodges-coronavirus-845x450

Paddleboarders will have to wait to get on Lake Hodges. The City of San Diego has closed all reservoirs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: City of San Diego

The City of San Diego’s reservoirs and lakes are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The city closed the reservoirs to the public on March 18 to protect the public and minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The nine water supply storage reservoirs are operated by the City’s Public Utilities Department.

Mysterious Machine Dropped to the Bottom of Lake Hodges

It’s the only one of its kind in Southern California and no one will see it again for years.

“It’s a giant upside-down cone with some pipes,” said Jeff Pasek. “It’s a strange looking device.”

It’s a strange looking device called a Speece Cone that’s expected to improve the water quality at Hodges Reservoir near Escondido.

“It’s not going to be seen again for a number of years because it’s 70 feet deep in the reservoir,” said Pasek, a Project Officer with the City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department.

The $3.4 million project will constantly inject oxygen into the reservoir which will reduce the nutrients that algae feed on, Pasek said.

City of San Diego’s Hodges Reservoir Reopens Feb. 5 for Recreation

The city of San Diego’s Hodges Reservoir will officially reopen to the public three days a week beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 5, allowing access for a variety of activities, including boating, fishing, hiking and picnicking. Hodges is normally closed November through January.

Hodges will be open Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from sunrise to sunset. It will also be open on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day holidays.