News Release Archive

Reclamation Encourages Visitors to Protect Exposed Historic Resources at New Melones Lake

Media Contact: Shane Hunt, 916-978-5100, 09/04/2015 15:33

For Release: September 04, 2015

SONORA, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation requests that visitors to New Melones Lake help protect historic resources by not digging, handling, removing or destroying any artifacts or ruins on or along the lake bed.

The remains of historic sites are now exposed due to low reservoir levels. These sites and artifacts are protected by federal and state laws that prohibit disturbing the sites in any way, including removing or relocating artifacts. Reclamation also reminds visitors that metal detectors are not allowed at New Melones Lake.

The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 43, Part 423, Section 423.29, states that visitors must not destroy, injure, deface, remove, search for, disturb or alter natural resources or cultural resources and that visitors must not possess a metal detector on Reclamation lands ( The historic sites around the lake and those that are normally covered by water in the reservoir are protected by the Archeological Resources Protection Act and other federal laws.

Further, the California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 4308, states that “no person shall remove, injure, disfigure, deface or destroy any object or archaeological or historical interest or value.”

The cultural resources on and along the lake bed represent a legacy of the people who lived and worked there in the past; if the resources are removed, they can never be replaced. Reclamation staff has been educating the public about this incredible resource and the importance of protecting this site for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

Please report any found ruins or artifacts or any destruction or removal of ruins or artifacts to the New Melones Lake Office at 209-536-9094 (TTY 800-877-8339). For information on New Melones Lake, please visit

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.