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Lake given OK to fill up to 64,000 acre feet
Officials putting together Wounded Warrior fishing event
Whether Success Lake will be allowed to fill to the top this spring has not yet been determined, but Calvin Foster, Operation Area manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said it will be allowed to fill as much as last spring.
Of course, how full the lake can get will be more determined by Mother Nature than any official. Rainfall and snowfall has been lacking this winter and unless there is good snowfall the rest of this month and through March, it is doubtful the lake will even reach 64,000 acre feet.
Because of a variety of safety concerns of the dam, storage had been restricted the past nine years. The 64,000 acre feet, which is about three-fourths of the reservoir’s 82,000 acre foot capacity, held last year was the most water held behind the dam in eight years. For several of those eight years, storage was less than 30,000 acre feet, but in the past three years, officials have allowed more water to be held, increasing from 40,000 to 64,000 acre feet last year.
Concerns varied from what damage an earthquake might do to the dam if the lake was full, to seepage under the earthen dam, but officials announced last year that after years of study and drilling into the dam, nearly all of those fears have been alleviated. Many expect storage restrictions to be lifted entirely, possibly this year.
“An official decision has not been made as to the pool,” said Foster on Tuesday, but he added, “We have agreed to go to 64,000 acre feet if we have the water.”
The Feb. 1 snowpack report found about an average snowpack for that time of the year, but not a lot of snow has fallen since. “We could make that up in March. We still have time to see a good water year,” said Foster. “It’d just be nice if we had that snow in the bank.”
Storage behind the dam as of Tuesday was just over 19,000 acre feet, about a quarter of what the dam can hold. Foster said that was encouraging, especially in light of so little rainfall.
He said a fishing event for Wounded Warriors, veterans who were wounded in combat, is planned for mid-May at the lake.
“Any time you can do something for veterans, especially wounded warriors, it’s a good thing,” Foster said of the event his rangers are organizing.
He said an event was held at Eastman Lake in Madera County last year and they had more than 50 veterans take part.
The event will need boaters willing to take the veterans out on the lake to fish, but Foster said that should not be too difficult. He said having the event in mid-May should assure having a good amount of water in the lake and fishing is usually very good at that time of the year.