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Drought forces closures at California lake

The official deadline for pulling boats from Folsom Lake in California passed Sunday night as levels continued to drop in severe drought conditions.

Marina operators said the water is approaching the 412-foot elevation level.

“When the lake gets to 412, we only have 6 feet under those docks, and some of these boats draw 5 [or] 6 feet of water,” Julie Christensen, assistant marina manager at Brown’s Ravine, told KCRA. “We like to get them all out at the same time and leave a bit of cushion.”

There are typically 650 boats in the slips along Brown’s Ravine.

The boating season on the lake will likely continue through mid-July, depending on the water level. Rangers at the Granite Bay boat launch told KCRA 3 that boats might only have a month or so before the main ramps are out of water and a 5 mph speed limit is put in place.

“It was frustrating,” said Thom Scalzi, who after waiting eight years to get a slip at Brown’s finally got one this year. “When my pass came up for the slip, they said you might have to pull out in two weeks. That was in April. But the water came up.”

The hundreds of people who rent slips at Brown’s aren’t the only ones affected by the low lake level.

“Last year I came out 17 times,” said C.J. Lauria, a boater who lives near Folsom Lake. “This is my fourth time this year and perhaps my last. Last year we bought a season pass, and this year we chose not to. It didn’t make a lot of sense. The levels were just too low.”