North State reservoir drained, thousands of fish killed

Sep 23, 2015 2:57 PM by News Staff

Thousands of fish are dead after a North State lake was drained, and residents say PG&E is to blame, but the utility company says this has everything to do with the drought.

On the weekend of September 12 Mountain Meadows Reservoir, near Lake Almanor, and the town of Westwood, was drained overnight. A week and a half later the popular fishing hole is nothing but an eye sore filled with mud and dead fish.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. owns the rights to the water and they use the lake for hydro-electric power. Officials say they haven’t used the lake since March, when they cut water flows out of the reservoir to the minimum requirements.

PG&E spokesperson Paul Moreno says the company worked hard to avoid the current situation, but he says California’s drought is to blame, less snow run off means less water in the lake, Moreno says.

Residents say this could have been avoided, creeks that normally feed into the lake are still flowing, but the water is being diverted to ranchland before making it to the lake.

The lake is expected to be full again next spring, but residents say they don’t see how the local ecosystem can recover. Resident Paul Bauer tells KHSL affiliate KTVN that he’s worried about the birds. The lake is also a popular duck hunting spot and Bauer is afraid that may now be in jeopardy as well.


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