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Barrett Reservoir was created with the completion of Barrett Dam in 1922 after about three years of construction. Photo: City of San Diego

City of San Diego Celebrates Barrett Reservoir 100 Year Anniversary

Barrett Reservoir marks its first century of service, playing an important role in the City of San Diego’s water supply system. Barrett is one of nine reservoirs that make up part of the City’s vast water system. Fishing season opens at the reservoir on May 4.

“For 100 years, Barrett Reservoir has served as an integral part of our drinking water system and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” said Juan Guerreiro, interim director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department. “Barrett is also a popular recreation area that San Diegans enjoy.”

Barrett Dam completed in 1922

Barrett Dam was completed in 1922 and named after George Barrett who owned the land at one time at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley Creeks. Photo: City of San Diego Barrett Reservoir

Barrett Dam was completed in 1922 and named after George Barrett, who owned the land at one time at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley Creeks. Photo: City of San Diego

Barrett Reservoir was created with the completion of Barrett Dam in 1922 after about three years of construction. Named after George Barrett, who owned the land at one time, the reservoir is located at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley creeks.

Barrett captures rainwater runoff only and is not fed by imported water. The reservoir’s water storage capacity is more than 34,800 acre-feet. Water from Barrett is transferred to the Lower Otay Reservoir via the Dulzura Conduit before being treated at the City’s Otay Water Treatment Plant for distribution to customers.

Fishing reservations

Public access to Barrett has been offered on a limited basis by reservation only since 1994. Fishing season runs from May to September, and waterfowl hunting is allowed from mid-October through January. Visitors can enjoy boating, kayaking, and float tubes, and the recreation area includes picnic areas, barbecues, and restrooms.

Fishing reservations are on sale through Ticketmaster. You must buy your ticket at least one day before your fishing day. A valid California Fishing License is required for anglers 16 years of age or older. California Department of Fish and Wildlife Freshwater Sport regulations and City regulations are strictly enforced. Fish available at Barrett include largemouth bass, bullhead catfish, crappie, and sunfish.

Reservations for waterfowl hunting at Barrett are sold in advance via a lottery draw method in October.

Barrett Reservoir is located at 19886 Japatul Lyons Valley Road in Jamul. More information about Barrett and other City reservoirs: sandiego.gov/reservoir-lakes.

(Editor’s note: The City of San Diego is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Helix Water District-Lake Jennings-Winners-Photo Contest

Lake Jennings 2022 Spring Photo Contest Call For Entries

The 11th annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest is now open for entries.  The theme is “Life at the Lake.”

The contest goal is to share the beauty of the reservoir and its surroundings with the local community while highlighting public recreation opportunities. Photos can capture any aspect of the lake, including recreation, fishing, lake vistas, wildlife, and wildflowers.

Photos taken at Lake Jennings between March 1 and May 31, 2022 are eligible.

Contest participants can get a free day-pass to access, explore and photograph the scenic reservoir in Lakeside.

Judging will be performed by a panel of Helix Water District staff. Entries are judged based on this year’s theme, visual appeal, technical quality, and creativity.

Second Place – Johnathan Bradley, "Sun Star" Spring Photo Contest

Photographer Johnathan Bradley of Lemon Grove won first place in 2021 for his image titled “Open Field.” Photo: Helix Water District

“We encourage photographers of all skill levels to visit Lake Jennings and enter the 2022 Spring Photo Contest,” said recreation manager Kira Haley. “Lake Jennings offers visitors plenty of beautiful things to photograph like its scenic views, clear water, numerous trails, fishing, and plenty of wildlife.”

Cash prizes and public recognition for winners

In the Youth category, second place to Gabriel Heilpern, “Fishing on the Lake.” Photo: Helix Water District Lake Jennings 2022

Gabriel Heilpern’s photo “Fishing on the Lake,” was second in the youth category last year. Photo: Helix Water District

Contest sponsor, Helix Water District, will award prizes in two divisions, adult and youth. First-place winners in each division will receive $150; second-place winners will receive $100, and third-place winners will receive $50. Awards will be presented at a public board meeting in June.

Participants must submit entries digitally to by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31. There is a limit of three photo submissions per photographer. Photos may not contain watermarks. See rules, and entry, and model release forms at http://www.lakejennings.org/photo-contest/.

Third Place – Jeff Morin, "Ladies on a Lunch Break" Spring Photo Contest

In 2021, third place in the Adult category went to Jeff Morin for “Ladies On A Lunch Break.” Photo: Helix Water District

Sixty-one photographers submitted their work in 2021. Photographer Johnathan Bradley of Lemon Grove won first place for his image titled “Open Field” and second place for the photo “Sun Star.” Third place went to Jeff Morin for “Ladies On A Lunch Break.”

In the Youth category, first place went to Aaron De’Souza for “Cacti by the Lake,” and second place to Gabriel Heilpern, “Fishing on the Lake.”

Photographers planning their visit should check the Lake Jennings website for current information on hours and access.

(Editor’s note: The Helix Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Winners Announced in Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Photo Contest

Amateur photographers turned their lenses on skies and streams, coyotes and cactus, and overlooked details in nature to produce seven winning images in the 15th annual Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve photo contest. The winners were announced at the Olivenhain Municipal Water District February 2022 board meeting.

The seven photos are now on display in the Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty through April 30, 2022. The Escondido Creek Conservancy contributed printing services to showcase one of the North County’s favorite hiking spots.

The contest’s goal is to promote the importance of open space and wildlife habitat preservation. Talented amateur photographers get an opportunity to share images of the natural beauty protected at EFRR through a partnership between OMWD, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the San Diego County Water Authority.

Supporting the mission to protect natural resources

 “In the Details” by Christie Lothrop wins the "Plants" category. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District winners announced

“In the Details” by Christie Lothrop wins the “Plants” category. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Contest entries assist in educating the public on local recreational opportunities and support EFRR’s mission to protect wildlife and natural resources.

“I think we have all come to appreciate the outdoors and nature a little more during the pandemic,” said OMWD Vice President Kristie Bruce-Lane. “The beautiful scenes depicted in these winning photos shine a light on the importance of open space so that future generations can experience and enjoy it.”

Winners were selected in five categories: Scenic View, Water Scenery, Plants, Animals, and Youth (under age 15). The public also selected a “People’s Choice” award winner by voting for their favorite among 12 entries posted on EFRR’s Facebook page. One photo received the “Best In Show” designation as the top photo.

This year’s photo contest winners

“Serenity” by Peter Montgomery is the 2022 Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Photo Content "Best in Show." Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

“Serenity” by Peter Montgomery is the 2022 Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Photo Contest “Best in Show.” Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

 

The Scenic View category winner is “Above the Fog” by Brandon McDonald. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

 

Brandon McDonald won in a second category with "Morning Reflections" for Water Scenery. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District winners announced

Brandon McDonald won in a second category, Water Scenery, with “Morning Reflections.” Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

 

These cuddling canines won the Animal category with “Reservoir Dogs Sleeping” by CJ Edingfield-Murphy. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

 

 “Cactus” by Ashley Hahlen is the Youth category winner for photographers under age 15. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District winners announced

“Cactus” by Ashley Hahlen is the Youth category winner for photographers under age 15. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Photographers received prizes including San Diego Zoo tickets, a 24″ x 36″ canvas print donated by PC Photo & Imaging, outdoor equipment donated by REI, and a $100 cash prize donated by Escondido Creek Conservancy.

The interpretive center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., subject to docent availability.

EFRR offers approximately 11 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails, as well as picnic areas and scenic mountain viewing points. Open daily from 8 a.m. to approximately thirty minutes before sunset, EFRR is located at 8833 Harmony Grove Road in Escondido. Admission and parking are free. More information is available on its website.

(Editor’s note: The Olivenhain Municipal Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

The popular dining deck at award-winning Santee Lakes. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Santee Lakes is Park of the Year

The National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds named the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve its Park of the Year in the Large Park category for its guest experience and overall excellence.

The association, or ARVC, also recognized Santee Lakes as a “Plan-It Green Friendly Park of the Year” for its environmentally-friendly practices across all park operations and its commitment to sustainability. Judges make their decision based on several criteria: guest experiences, all-around excellence in operations, professionalism, marketing, customer service, and industry involvement.

Both awards were presented at the 2021 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo. Park Director Laura Koval accepted the awards in person on behalf of Santee Lakes.

“Despite the numerous challenges we faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Santee Lakes still managed to embrace our family-friendly camping culture and create a much-needed respite from stressors in the world,” said Koval. “As one guest said, “First campground I’ve been to in a while that feels like home.”

Santee Lakes Park Director Laura Koval accepted the awards in person on behalf of Santee Lakes. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water DistrictSantee Lakes Park Director Laura Koval accepted the awards in person on behalf of Santee Lakes. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Santee Lakes Park Director Laura Koval accepted the awards in person on behalf of Santee Lakes. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Santee Lakes “a shining star”

“The ARVC Park of the Year Awards showcase excellence at so many levels, and Santee Lakes is a shining star reaching the highest level of recognition,” said ARVC President and CEO Paul Bambei. “To win both Park of the Year and Plan-It Green Park of the Year in 2021 is quite an accomplishment, and it shows the high level of excellence Santee Lakes provides its customers, employees, and community.”

In addition to its most recent honors, Santee Lakes was also named to The San Diego Union-Tribune’s “Best 2021” reader poll in the categories Staycation Location, Scenic Spot, San Diego Attraction, Entertainment Venue, Place to Get Married, and Hiking Trail. It also won “Favorite Place” from the Santee Chamber of Commerce and San Diego’s Reader’s Poll as one of its “Favorite Places to Get Married.”

Sixty years of community recreation

Fishing remains among the favorite activities. Santee Lakes was recenty stocked with rainbow trout for the winter season. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Fishing remains among the favorite activities. Santee Lakes was recently stocked with rainbow trout for the winter season. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Santee Lakes celebrates 60 years of operation in 2021. In 1959, the Santee County Water District, now the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, initiated a then-unique project of recycling wastewater for irrigation and commercial uses. As part of the treatment process, a chain of seven individual lakes was developed. Boating and fishing were authorized in 1961, and Santee Lakes opened to the public.

Today, Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve hosts over 760,000 visitors annually. The 190-acre park’s lakes are stocked with fish year-round, most recently on December 17. Other amenities include camping, cabin rentals, fishing, boating, playgrounds, walking trails, facility rentals, special events, and approximately 230 bird species.

Santee Lakes is self-sustaining

The park is owned and operated by Padre Dam Municipal Water District. However, it is self-sustaining and receives no funds from water or wastewater ratepayers. The Park operates from guest user fees, grants and awards, collaborations with community groups, and sponsorships.

“We are humbled to receive these honors, especially during the year of our 60th anniversary,” said Koval. “The staff has worked tirelessly to maintain Santee Lakes as an environmentally sustainable and premier destination. These awards will be cherished for many years to come.”

(Editor’s note: The Padre Dam Municipal Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Helix Water District-Lake Jennings-Trout Season Opens-Trout Season Opens at Lake Jennings

Trout Season Opens at Lake Jennings

The 2021 trout season opened Nov. 19 at Lake Jennings, the Helix Water District reservoir in Lakeside. The lake is one of San Diego County’s hot spots for trout fishing, ranked second in the county by SDFish.com.

The first delivery of 2,000 pounds of trout traveled 913 miles from Idaho in an oxygenated truck to stock the lake. The first of 12 biweekly trout stock came from Wright’s Rainbows in Thatcher, Idaho. A total of 20,000 pounds will be stocked every two weeks through the week of April 18. Anglers can also catch large-mouth bass, red-ear sunfish, bluegill, channel and blue catfish.

Fishing one of several fall family activities  at Lake Jennings

For trout season arriving this weekend, the recommended lure is mini jigs, an all-purpose lure which attracts trout, bass, crappie and bluegill. Photo: Lake Jennings

For trout season at Lake Jennings, the recommended lure is mini jigs, an all-purpose lure which attracts trout, bass, crappie and bluegill. Photo: Lake Jennings

In addition to other recreational activities, Lake Jennings is where the Helix Water District stores imported water from the Colorado River and Northern California. After treatment, the water is supplied to 277,000 people in San Diego’s East County, including the cities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove, and El Cajon, the Spring Valley community.

Helix Water District is also part of a collaborative partnership for the East County Advanced Water Purifcation project, along with Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the County of San Diego, and the City of El Cajon. The plant is expected to provide 30% of current drinking water demands for East County residents when completed in 2025.

Trout fishing on the shore

Fishing is accessible on the shoreline, on the lake’s fishing dock, or from kayaks or a 16-foot skiff with an outboard motor available for rental. Rental boats are on a first-come, first-served basis. Anglers can also launch privately owned boats.

During the opening weekend of trout season in 2020, Lake Jennings issued 931 permits, including 161 for children, an increase of 10% over 2019. The lake is open for shore fishing daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Anglers must purchase a daily permit from the campground check-in kiosk. Five miles of shoreline provides ample space for social distancing.

Record catch, recommended lure

The recommended lure for trout arriving this weekend is mini jigs, an all-purpose lure that attracts trout, bass, crappie, and bluegill. To help cast the lightweight lure, lake staff recommend attaching a bobber five to six feet above the mini jig. Popular jig colors for trout season are pink, orange, and chartreuse.

The current lake record is held by Chris Sprecco, who caught an 84.4 lb. blue catfish on January 18, 2020. Sprecco broke a longstanding previous lake record of a 71.3 lb. blue catfish held by Bob Bowden on June 1, 2014.

Dock and boat fishing are available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The bait and tackle shop is also open Friday through Sunday.  Check the lake’s website for the latest hours and information. Anglers can sign up for the weekly Lake Jennings fishing report sent by email at the lake’s website.

(Editor’s note: The Helix Water District and the Padre Dam Municipal Water District are two of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Sweetwater Reservoir Now Open on Fridays for Public Use

The Sweetwater Authority has added another day for the public to enjoy activities at the Sweetwater Reservoir in Spring Valley. Previously open Saturdays through Mondays, the Authority expanded operations to include Fridays to give residents more opportunities to get outside and experience nature this summer.

Starting Friday, July 2,  Sweetwater Reservoir will be open so that San Diego County residents can enjoy fishing, hiking, biking and bird watching.

Sweetwater Reservoir-Sweetwater Authority-Expanded days

Sweetwater Reservoir Now Open on Fridays for Public Use

The Sweetwater Authority has added another day for the public to enjoy activities at the Sweetwater Reservoir in Spring Valley. Previously open Saturdays through Mondays, the Authority expanded operations to include Fridays to give residents more opportunities to get outside and experience nature this summer.

Starting Friday, July 2,  Sweetwater Reservoir will be open so that San Diego County residents can enjoy fishing, hiking, biking and bird watching. The reservoir hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Shoreline Fishing Program

The addtional day also means another day for the Sweetwater Authority Shoreline Fishing Program.

“Our Fishing Program provides cost-effective, fun and educational recreational opportunities for San Diego County residents of all ages,” said Sweetwater Authority Board Chair Hector Martinez. “We’re pleased to expand this program to include Fridays and welcome residents to enjoy the beauty of our water and the environment this Independence Day weekend.”

In addition to the Sweetwater Reservoir, shoreline fishing is also available at the Authority’s Loveland Reservoir near Alpine.

Both lakes host a healthy population of bass, catfish, bullhead, bluegill, perch, rock bass and more. Catch and release is encouraged to avoid overfishing, and anglers must comply with California Fish and Game regulations.

Sweetwater Reservoir

The Sweetwater Reservoir provides shoreline fishing along a 2.5-mile stretch on the south side of the reservoir. Access is via San Miguel Road in Bonita near Sweetwater Summit Park.

Hours of Operation: 
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays
7 am to 5 pm, March – September
7 am to 4 pm, October – February

Daily Fees:  
$5 per adult
$2 per child under 16 (must be with an adult)
$3 per car for non-fishing visitors

Loveland Reservoir-Fishing-Sweetwater Authority

Shoreline fishing is available at Loveland Reservoir near Alpine. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Loveland Reservoir

The Loveland Reservoir provides fishing along a five-mile portion of the shoreline. Access is via the Interstate 8 East to Tavern Road/Alpine off-ramp.

Hours of Operation: 
Open Daily
6 am to 6 pm, March – September
6 am to 5 pm, October – February

Daily Fees:
There are no fees to access Loveland Reservoir.

A California State Fishing License is required at both reservoirs for those 16 and older, and adult supervision is required for children under the age of 16.

(Editor’s note: The Sweetwater Authority is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Lake Jennings 2021 Spring Photo Contest Winners Depict Life At The Lake

The theme “Life at the Lake” inspired 61 photographers to enter the 2021 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest, held for the 10th year by the Helix Water District. Photographer Johnathan Bradley of Lemon Grove won first place for his image titled “Open Field” and second place for the photo “Sun Star.” Third place went to Jeff Morin for “Ladies On  A Lunch Break.”

Each of the entries highlighted the unique beauty of Lake Jennings activities enjoyed by locals and visitors, including camping, fishing, hiking, spotting wildlife, and enjoying the view.

Sweetwater Authority Reservoirs Provide Safe Public Recreation

One year into the coronavirus pandemic, San Diego County’s reservoirs and lakes have provided welcome opportunities for safe, accessible outdoor family recreation.

After shutting down in March 2020, facilities began to slowly reopen through the summer months by carefully implementing safety guidelines, including increased sanitation, social distancing, and restricted attendance to allow San Diegans to resume their favorite hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and bird watching activities.

Hooded mergansers glide across Sweetwater Reservoir. Photo: Sweetwater Authority Reservoirs

Sweetwater Authority Reservoirs Provide Safe Public Recreation 

One year into the coronavirus pandemic, San Diego County’s reservoirs and lakes have provided welcome opportunities for safe, accessible outdoor family recreation.

After shutting down in March 2020, facilities began to slowly reopen through the summer months by carefully implementing safety guidelines, including increased sanitation, social distancing, and restricted attendance to allow San Diegans to resume their favorite hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and bird watching activities.

Sweetwater Authority owns and maintains two popular recreation spots in San Diego County, Sweetwater Reservoir near Spring Valley and Loveland Reservoir, near Alpine.

Primarily a local water supply for Sweetwater Authority’s 200,000 customers in National City, Chula Vista, and Bonita, the agency has created recreational opportunities at the reservoirs. Fishing programs are offered at both reservoirs and a riding and hiking trail at Sweetwater Reservoir is operated by the County of San Diego.

Sweetwater is one of several regional water agencies that offer recreational opportunities at reservoirs and lakes. Helix Water District operates Lake Jennings, a hot spot for trout fishing. The City of San Diego also provides boat rentals and paddle-boarding at several of its reservoirs.

Safety first to protect the public 

Sweetwater Authority owns and maintains two popular recreation spots in San Diego County, Sweetwater Reservoir (above) near Spring Valley, California, and Loveland Reservoir, further east near Alpine, California. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority owns and maintains two popular recreation spots in San Diego County, Sweetwater Reservoir (above) near Spring Valley and Loveland Reservoir near Alpine. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Both fishing programs and the trail at Sweetwater Reservoir are designed to protect public health and the drinking water supply while benefiting the community.

“At Sweetwater Authority, part of our mission is finding the balance between human and environmental needs,” said Sweetwater Authority Board Chair Hector Martinez. “The recreation opportunities at our two reservoirs are a great example of how we achieve that balance. We can share these beautiful resources with the community while continuing to protect the local drinking water supply for our customers.”

A California Fishing License is required to fish at both reservoirs, and there are rules in place to ensure the protection of the water supply and sensitive habitats surrounding its reservoirs. For more information on current hours, fees, and COVID-19 safety, go to: www.sweetwater.org/fishing.

“The Board and I are proud to offer these recreation programs,” said Martinez. “We encourage the community to take advantage of these opportunities to get outside and enjoy the beauty of our water and the environment.”