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Mid-Pacific Region
Sacramento, Calif.
Media Contact:
Jeffrey McCracken, Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region
Roy Stearns, Deputy Director, Communications, California Department of Parks and Recreation

Released On: August 31, 2007

Millerton Lake Reaching Low Water Levels

The Bureau of Reclamation and the California State Parks want to inform boaters and other recreationists that as a consequence of dry conditions in the San Joaquin River Watershed, the level of Millerton Lake is lower than normal this year.  With the lake level so low, boaters should be cautious.

"Labor Day weekend is usually a pretty busy weekend for boaters on Millerton," said Jess Cooper, District Superintendent for the California State Parks at Millerton.  While the reduced capacity and submerged obstructions may cause some to stay away, the State Recreation Area plans to have ramps #1, #5, and #6 open for loading and unloading boats.  Ramp #6 is located on the Area's North Shore in Madera County.  At today's level, the three ramps all extend below the current lake elevation.

Many factors are involved in determining what the lake level may be on any given day, including variables such as evaporation and downstream usage as well as upstream reservoirs' storage and releases.  The best way to track the level at Millerton Lake is on the California Data Exchange Center (CDEC) website.  Provisional reservoir elevation information is updated hourly.  To access this information, please go to http://cdec2.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryFx?MIL.  

Best estimates, taking into consideration historic measurements and silting, place the end of ramp #1 at 487 +/- feet, ramp #5 at 472 +/- feet, and ramp #6 at 471 +/- feet in elevation.  These levels do not take into consideration the depth a vehicle needs to safely navigate, launch, and retrieve a boat (known as the keel depth).  Likewise, these values do not take into consideration a tow vehicle's ability to retrieve a boat under a given natural constraint such as mud, the end of a paved road, low traction, etc.

While the Millerton Lake State Recreation Area still expects a lot of visitors this weekend, take it from Jess Cooper when he says, "A well-informed boater is a safer boater."

For more information on Millerton Lake Reservoir elevations, please visit the CDEC at http://cdec.water.ca.gov or visit Reclamation's Millerton Lake Daily Operations Report at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvo/vungvari/sccao_mildop.pdf.  For information on the Millerton Lake State Recreation Area, please visit http://www.parks.ca.gov/.

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