Loveland Reservoir

MIRACLE OF THE FISHES

By Ben Anglin

April 1, 2024 (Alpine) – More than a year after extreme draining killed all the fish in Loveland Reservoir, California Fish & Wildlife authorities confirm that schools of  fish are once again populating the reservoir.

This phenomena has occurred despite Sweetwater Water Authority’s refusal to invest in restocking the lake,  and despite federal and state wildlife authorities opposition to restocking with nonnative fish that previously inhabited the lake.  This has led to speculation as to how the fish have repopulated.

“It’s a miracle!” declared  Father Jesús Milagro, comparing the resurrection of bass, carp and bluegill at Loveland to the miraculous fish catches described in the Gospel of Luke.

Others have alternative ideas.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

SWEETWATER AUTHORITY HOLDS WORKSHOP TO DISCUSS HOW TO SPEND GRANT FUNDS EARMARKED FOR LOVELAND RESERVOIR

By Jessyka Heredia

Watch full video

 

 Friends of Loveland Reservoir invite public to meeting, hike Dec. 28

December 17, 2023 (Chula Vista) – Monday, the Sweetwater Water Authority held a public workshop to see how the community would like to use the $750,000 in state funding recently awarded by Assembly Bill 102 (AB 102) to Sweetwater Authority for Loveland Trail Improvements.

Carlos Quintero, General Manager of Sweetwater Authority, started off the workshop stating, “It’s very rare to get a grant with very few strings attached. So, we are looking at the community, certainly the East  County community and our rate payers to give us feedback.”


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

ALPINE RESIDENTS ASK U.S. FORESTRY DEPT. TO ADVOCATE FOR PUBLIC ON LOVELAND RESERVOIR ACCESS, ALSO HEAR UPDATES ON WILDFIRE ISSUES

 

By: Jessyka Heredia 

 

 



 

August 31, 2023 (Alpine)— Last Thursday, residents came to the Alpine Community Planning Group to hear about the U.S. Forestry Service’s wildfire protection efforts in Alpine and discuss the easement agreement between the Forestry department and the Sweetwater Water Authority (SWA)Residents want to see fish restocked and reservoir gates opened from sunrise to sunset at Loveland Reservoir, according to the easement deed.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

WARNING ISSUED FOR RESIDENTS DOWNSTREAM FROM LOVELAND RESERVOIR DUE TO TROPICAL CYCLONE HILARY

 

By Miriam Raftery

By Miriam Raftery

File photo of past spillover at Loveland Dam, via Sweetwater Water Authority

August 20, 2023 (Alpine) – Warning letters have been sent by Sweetwater Water Authority to residents downstream from Loveland Reservoir, in anticipation of “unplanned water release, or spills”  due to anticipated heavy rains from tropical storm Hilary. “These potential unplanned water release, together with expected abundant storm runoff, could cause flooding in areas downstream,” the district’s website cautions.

Residents downstream are urged to relocate livestock, equipment and materials out of the floodway, to inspect their properties, and clear critical culverts as soon as possible to reduce potential property damage.

Flooding could continue even after Monday, when rains are forecast to end, due to storm runoff into the river.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

LOVELAND RESERVOIR TO REOPEN MAY 30, SWEETWATER ANNOUNCES

By Miriam Raftery

May 27, 2023 (Alpine) – Sweetwater Water Authority has posted a notice on its website announcing that the recreation program at Loveland Reservoir in Alpine will reopen on May 30.  Available activities are expected to include hiking and birdwatching, but not yet fishing, since the district has not committed on a date to restock the lake with fish.

In November and December, the district drained Loveland Reservoir to dead pool status for the first time ever, killing off the fish to save ratepayers money and avoid buying water during the drought. The action drew outrage from local residents and fishing advocates.

Then heavy rains in December and January destroyed a floating fishing dock, which the district plans to restore with insurance funds. The rains also caused severe erosion of trails which the district deemed dangerous, so it closed public access to the lake in January.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

SWEETWATER AIMS TO REOPEN TRAILS AT LOVELAND RESERVOIR IN “WEEKS,” BUT WON’T COMMIT TO WHEN LAKE WILL BE RESTOCKED WITH FISH

 

Update May 27: Sweetwater has announced on its website that it will reopen the reservoir to hiking and birdwatching on May 30, but the district has not yet committed to when or if fish will be restocked.

By Miriam Raftery

May 18, 2023 (Alpine) – Loveland Reservoir in Alpine has been closed since January,  after heavy storms caused major erosion to trails left exposed by Sweetwater Water Authority's decision to drain the lake to dead pool status. Though rains have replenished water levels to above the heavily eroded banks, public access has not been restored--much to the consternation of area residents.

Last night, East County residents in support of reopening Loveland packed the hearing room at the Sweetwater Water Authority headquarters in Chula Vista to voice their views.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

READER’S EDITORIAL: PUBLIC CRIES FOUL OVER DENIAL OF RIGHTS TO ENJOY NATIONAL FOREST SERVICE FACILITY

By Carolyn McGavock

April 11, 2023 (Alpine) -- The closure of the Loveland Fishing Access in Alpine has the public at odds with the Sweetwater Authority. Recently, SWA drained Loveland Reservoir to deadpool, killing the fish population and the fishing program which was established jointly with the national forest service. Hiking and bird watching along the shoreline are also enjoyed there. When the reservoir was empty, Sweetwater claimed the resulting erosion had created a hazard. Since then, rain has refilled the reservoir and covered the erosion leaving the public area as safe for hiking and bird watching as it had been during the 25-year history of the recreational program. However, SWA’s public relations officer, Gwyneth Shoecraft, recently reported, “At this point we do not know the timeframe for restoring access.”

Some advocates suspect that the lake is closed to hide the fact that the fish population was killed and the publicly purchased fishing pier is in pieces. Advocates fear that SWA plans to exclude them permanently and are appealing to public officials in the forest service for representation.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

IN HEATED ALPINE MEETING, SWEETWATER OFFICIALS PLEDGE TO RESTORE SOME DAMAGE, REOPEN LOVELAND RESERVOIR—BUT WON’T RULE OUT FUTURE EXTREME DRAINING

Restocking with fish could take up to two years;  severe erosion on trails means a bridge may need to be built, district reveals

By Miriam Raftery

View video of hearing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQW0avdKyE8&t=2165s

April 9, 2023 (Alpine) – A crowd of more than 100 angry residents turned out at the Alpine Community Planning Group hearing on March 23, where Sweetwater Water Authority officials addressed concerns over damage at Loveland Reservoir after SWA drained it to dead pool status. Audience members and planning group members peppered SWA officials with questions in the at times contentious session.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

ALPINE PLANNING GROUP TO HEAR LOVELAND RESERVOIR CONCERNS MARCH 23; COMMUNITY INPUT SOUGHT

By Miriam Raftery

March 3, 2023 (Alpine) –  Loveland Reservoir near Alpine remains closed to public access for fishing, hiking and recreation since storms in January destroyed the floating fishing dock and caused severe erosion. The damage occurred after Sweetwater Water Authority drained the lake to an unprecedented dead pool status, killing off fish and destroying habitat. Even after January’s heavy rains, Sweetwater again drained the reservoir – angering recreational enthusiasts and environmentalists.

On Thursday, March 23 at 6 p.m., the Alpine Community Planning Group will hear a presentation by Sweetwater on the current and future state of Loveland Reservoir.

Friends of Loveland Reservoir, a group formed to advocate for restoring the lake, states, “We desperately need community members to show up and calmly and professionally share the importance of the Reservoir. If Sweetwater does not hear from us, they will understandably believe this matter is not important to us and will continue down their chosen path.”


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

SWEETWATER DRAINS LOVELAND RESERVOIR AGAIN, CLOSES LAKE TO RECREATION

 

District disputes statements by residents criticizing its actions

By Miriam Raftery

February 10, 2023 (Alpine) – Despite heavy rains in January that have alleviated severe drought concerns, Sweetwater Water Authority on January 26 announced that it has initiated a new transfer of water from Loveland Reservoir to Sweetwater Reservoir. The new transfer comes after a controversial transfer begun in November drained Loveland down to dead pool status for the first time in the district’s history, raising concerns over negative impacts on wildlife, firefighting resources, and loss of recreational use including fishing. 

Last month, heavy rains caused major damage to a floating fishing dock, as well as substantial erosion, as ECM reported. Now, the district has announced that “due to safety concerns, the Recreation Program at Loveland Reservoir is closed until further notice. Recent rains caused significant erosion in the Recreation Program area at Loveland Reservoir. For the safety of the community, the program will remain closed until further notice. Sweetwater Authority staff will be assessing the damage and evaluating options for repairs in the coming months.”  For the latest updates, visit www.sweetwater.org/recreation.

Darlene Cosso, board member and spokesperson for the newly formed Friends of Loveland Reservoir,  told ECM, “Friends of Loveland Reservoir would like to collaborate with Sweetwater Authority to propose solutions to the repeated draining of the lake. We believe we have various options which will benefit community members, the environment, wildlife that depends on Loveland, and Sweetwater Authority and its customers.”

Friends of Loveland Reservoir posted the following call to action on its Facebook page, for residents upset over the closure and repeated draining:


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

STORM DESTROYS FISHING FLOAT AT LOVELAND RESERVOIR – AFTER SWEETWATER AUTHORITY DRAINED WATER TO HISTORIC LOW

By Miriam Raftery

January 25, 2023 (Alpine) – Late last fall, Sweetwater Water Authority authorized draining Loveland Reservoir down to  minimum pool and then in November, further draining to dead pool status over public objections, as ECM reported,  That extreme draining left an L-shaped floating fishing dock paid for by taxpayers through a federal HUD grant perched on dry land.

 

Then came the deluge of rainfall in mid-January, which ripped apart the fishing dock.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

READER’S EDITORIAL: USDA, FOREST SERVICE, CONGRESSIONAL AND SWEETWATER AUTHORITY CHRISTMAS GIFT

Sweetwater Water Authority has drained Loveland Reservoir to dead pool status despite community objections loss of recreational resources, wildlife habitat and firefighting impacts, as ECM reported.  Activist and fisherman Russell Walsh sent in photos and this message in response. 

 

Photos:  left, Loveland Reservoir after being drained to dead pool level; right, before the draining, maintained at 75 year minimum pool level.

 

By Russell Walsh

 

December 27, 2022 (San Diego's East County) - Happy Holidays. This will be for my Grinch of 2022 Christmas Card. "Caring For The Land And Serving People 2022."


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

SWEETWATER DRAINS LOVELAND RESERVOIR TO DEAD POOL LEVEL TO SAVE ITS RATEPAYERS MONEY-- AT THE EXPENSE OF RURAL RESIDENTS, WILDLIFE, AND FIRE PROTECTION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo  left:  water drains from Loveland Reservoir in Alpine to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay;

Photo, right: bare mudflat at Loveland, once  400 surface acres, now doomed to be dropped to just 10.

November 23, 2022 (Alpine) – Without any regard to impacts on wildlife, fire danger, rural residents or recreational users at Loveland Reservoir near Alpine in San Diego's East County, the Sweetwater Water Authority (SWA) on November 16 began draining down the lake with an intent to reduce it to “dead pool” level – less than one-half of one percent of the reservoir’s capacity, once draining is completed over the next couple of weeks or so.

The water is being transferred to Sweetwater Reservoir in Spring Valley. From there, it will be used to provide drinking water and other water needs to residents in the South Bay communities of Chula Vista, National City and Bonita.

But critics say  the action is destroying habitat for wildlife, perhaps forever, also eliminating fishing at the area's only reservoir with free fishing access, and threatening firefighters' ability to combat fast-moving wildfires .  Critics also contend that draining the reservoir so low is unnecssary at current drought levels. Yet the people most negatively impacted have no representation on the SWA board, which doesn't include East County.

Audio: 


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

ACCESS TO LAKESIDE RECREATION AT LOVELAND AT RISK AS SWEETWATER AUTHORITY CONTINUES TO LOWER WATER LEVEL

By Elijah McKee 

June 22, 2022 (Alpine) — On the outskirts of Alpine lies something rare in East County — an exceptional opportunity for fishing and other recreation on land that is free to access through an arrangement with the U.S. Forest Service. 


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.

HELLO KITTY: MORE BLACK WILDCAT REPORTS SURFACE

By Miriam Raftery

 

February 5, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –After our January 22 report, “Are black wildcats prowling East County?”  on numerous reported sightings of large black wildcats in East County, we have spoken with numerous other people whose accounts suggest that sightings of black cats close in size to mountain lions have been occurring in our region for decades.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.