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City to Reopen Lakes for Recreational Use in Partnership with County Leaders

Public Asked to Observe Covid-19 Safety Measures Including Facial Coverings and Physical Distancing

Friday, June 5, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – As the San Diego region reopens safely and responsibly, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, in partnership with City Council and San Diego County officials, is announcing the full reopening of lakes and reservoirs under the City’s jurisdiction that had previously been closed in response to the global pandemic.

“As San Diegans continue to flatten the curve by doing the right thing, we are able to begin reopening many of our recreational spaces like our lakes in a safe and responsible manner,” Mayor Faulconer said. “A lot of San Diegans have a passion for fishing and boating, and we’ve been able to partner with the County to reopen all of our lakes and reservoirs to the public. I want to thank City Councilmember Scott Sherman, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus for working with us to get this done.”

The reopening schedule is as follows:

  • El Capitan Reservoir – Saturday, June 6*
  • Upper Otay Reservoir – Saturday, June 6
  • San Vicente Reservoir – Saturday, June 13
  • Lake Hodges Reservoir – Wednesday, July 1
  • Sutherland Reservoir – Friday, July 3
  • Barrett Reservoir – Wednesday, July 8**

Those reservoirs join three others that were previously reopened in mid-May: Miramar, Murray, and Lower Otay.

The cost of reopening the additional reservoirs is approximately $1 million. The City’s Public Utilities Department will be conducting a fee study and implementing the necessary adjustments to ensure a reliable funding strategy to keep the lakes open long term. Funding identified through a tentative cost-sharing agreement with the County of San Diego will be limited to covering enhanced staffing costs for ensuring public health is maintained in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both the City Council and County Board of Supervisors will need to approve the agreement.

“These lakes are regional treasures and, thanks to Mayor Faulconer, Mayor Vaus and others, I think we've come up with a funding proposal that will float,” said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “By focusing on the COVID-19 related costs, I think the County can play a role in opening the lakes back up.”

New safety and cleaning protocols recently introduced as the City reopened Miramar, Murray and Lower Otay reservoirs are still in place. The reservoirs will be open during regular business hours for walking, jogging, cycling, fishing, and boating. Normal fishing and boating fees will apply.

“As we have seen from the thousands of calls, emails, and letters to City Hall; fishing is more than a hobby, it's a passion,” said City Councilmember Scott Sherman. “Our lakes and reservoirs are too important of a recreational asset to keep closed and I am thankful they will be opened soon. During this challenging budget year, we must be creative and consider all long-term funding options to ensure these outdoor gems remain open to the public permanently.”

The public will be asked to observe COVID-19 preventative measures, including mandates requiring face coverings and physical distancing. Per the County of San Diego’s regulations bathrooms are scheduled to be cleaned regularly. For more information, please visit the City’s website at sandiego.gov/coronavirus.

“These East County lakes are special places,” said Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, Chair of the San Diego Association of Governments. “I am deeply grateful to Mayor Faulconer for prioritizing the lakes' reopening. I’m also very appreciative of Supervisor Jacob for stepping up to bridge the funding gap.”

*El Capitan Reservoir is re-opening for fishing and boating. Personal watercraft and water skiing are prohibited. 

**Barrett Reservoir is re-opening for shoreline fishing, float tube, and kayak fishing only. No boat rentals will be allowed this year.

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