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Finnonlake.com is pleased to provide you with information from the RCD as soon as it is presented to us, look for additional information when they provide it to us we shall pass it along.
2013 has now ended. All in all a year in which no additional water was added to the lake, water levels continue to lower due to the drought conditions present in California, and other improvements began, but will roll into 2014. Campgrounds are closed, probably till May. The spillway bridge, road on the dam, and parking lot to the new deli / general store (opening sometime soon) are all being worked on. No tentative dates, other than possibly May, 2014 for project’s completion. The new deli/store should be opening soon. Disk golf is still available, and at last report there are 20 “holes” of play.
Click the smaller photo to enlarge and see where the water level is at using the stanchions as a depth gauge, by using the photo located further down on the ‘Home’ page.
The lake remains well below its full capacity potential and as this winter’s rainfall has been dismal, with a drought covering all of California, the welcome news to kick off February is that the area has experienced its first real storm. Beginning February 6 a series of storms came from our neighboring state, Hawaii. From the 6Th through 2PM on the 9Th the lake area received 8.08 inches of rain, the most rainfall in the past 14 months. The rains continue as this is being written, and more is forecast for the coming week. That 8+ inches has added to the lake. Presently the water level is approximately 23.7 feet at the dam’s face. Runoff from this storm has added about 3 feet to the lake’s water depth since the summer. That’s great but unless it rains like this for the next several weeks there won’t be too much added. Only Mother Nature knows. Other news is that the spillway bridge has been removed and new abutments will be made soon to support the new bridge. Tentative completion is late April or May.
The new General Store / Deli has not opened yet, but we will inform you when that occurs.
The photos, to the right, were taken during our much needed storm of early February. The stanchions supporting the drain’s control rod shows where the water level is at, and if you see the photo (further down the page on the right side) you can determine the water level.
Let’s keep hoping for more rain to ease our drought and help fill Finnon. This early February storm added about 3 feet of water to the lake. However, that amount of water evaporated during the summer months, so the lake’s level hasn’t really changed since the dam was replaced and storm runoff began filling it over 2 years ago.
Photos © BW Beacham, 2014
The photo slide show (below) hosts a few photos for March, 2014. Since our February, 2014 report the area had 13.09 inches of rain. The rain, and the runoff from the surrounding hillsides resulted in the lake filling about 5 more feet which gives the present depth, at the dam, to be about 29 feet. Seasonal rainfall has still been dismal even with these latest rain amounts. The area is still in a drought, and rainfall has been about 40% below normal.
As of March 1, the new store/kitchen has opened. It is located at 9100 Rock Creek Road at the entrance to the dam. Campground is still closed awaiting the spillway bridge replacement. The Disc Golf course is still available for your use.
The slide-show hosts a few photos that represent the lake’s present water level, the future home of the boat ramp, and the spillway area without the old bridge. Additionally one photo shows the ‘Tee’ area for the 3rd ‘hole’ for disc golf. Looks like a good challenge for anyone enjoying this sport.
It is doubtful that any additional water will be added to the lake from the County’s water agency, the EID. Since the dam’s replacement, completed over two years ago, the only water the lake has received to refill it has been from Mother Nature. With the drought situation in California any precipitation is most welcome.
MARCH 2014 -
Another month has zoomed by and vacation time is getting closer. If you love the outdoors it is time to think about camping, fishing, boating, hiking, and just a myriad of things to do outdoors. Please visit our Camping page and also our Maps and Links page for additional camping information and area activities. Finnon Lake campgrounds are scheduled to reopen on May 23, 2014. The bridge that crosses the dam’s spillway has a tentative completion date of May 16, 2014 as it required replacement. Fishing at the lake is scheduled to begin May 23, 2014. A California State fishing license is being required by the lake’s owner for anyone over 16 years of age. Fishing is catch and release only, no live bait, lures and flies only. Boats will be allowed, but no gas powered engines - electric and/or oars only.
The new Mosquito General Market & Kitchen begins its second month. They are located at the entrance to the campgrounds and dam. Sandwiches and convenience store items are available.
Water level in the lake rose about one more foot during the remainder of March, and since the photos (the slide-showbelow) were taken early in March. The latest estimated depth of the lake, as of April 1, is 30.5 feet at the dam’s face. The refilling of the lake has only been accomplished by Mother Nature. The slideshow, below left, hosts photos which were taken April 22, 2014.
Finnon Lake campgrounds are scheduled to reopen on May 23, 2014. The bridge that crosses the dam’s spillway has a tentative completion date of May 16, 2014 as it required replacement. Fishing at the lake is scheduled to begin May 23, 2014. A California State fishing license is being required by the lake’s owner for anyone over 16 years of age. Fishing is catch and release only, no live bait, lures and flies only. Boats will be allowed, but no gas powered engines - electric and/or oars only.
The new bridge over the spillway of the dam has been set in place. Last month’s slide show had photos of the bridge awaiting installation and this month’s slide show (below, right side) show the bridge in place. The roadway has to be elevated to meet the bridge and that should be occurring soon. Other photos include some spring wild flowers, local inhabitants, water depth, and an unbelievable shot of water actually being added to the lake. The county’s water agency has finally begun fulfilling their requirement. Although the water flow is small and may not do more than replenish what water is evaporating at least water is being added. All the more important as this will be a very dry season and any water in the lake may be needed to suppress any fire. Hopefully that will not happen, and folks will be very careful when using matches, BBQs, vehicles, etc.
Water level remains at just about 30 feet deep at the dam’s face..
The long days of summer are here and with those comes the opportunity for some fun in the sun. The campground is open and waiting for you to visit. Fishing is available at Finnon, however at this time it is catch and release. A valid fishing license is also required by the owner of the lake. The new spillway bridge is complete and is ready. The road over the dam and bridge has been paved with a chip seal covering allowing easy access to the day use area, disc golf course parking area, and of course the campsites. The county operated water supplier is still releasing water to help fill the lake but at this time the flow rate is barely keeping up with evaporation. The Mosquito General Market and Kitchen is available for those ‘general store’ items you may need as well as sandwiches and burgers. Below are a few photos for July 1. Visit the lake and market soon!
Left to right -
The completed spillway bridge.
The new road over the dam.
Signs of fish.
The old well house foundation.
The beached raft in the coffer area.
Drain control. Water depth at about 28 feet at dam’s face.
A wide angle view of Finnon.
The lake’s owner, the MVFA, indicated in their monthly newsletter that the restoration of the Finnon property is now considered complete. The dam was completed over 2 years ago, the spillway bridge has been replaced and dam roadway has been paved. A boat launch area was added as well as a wash area. Day use parking was added, campsites added, fish restocked and the Mosquito General Store replaced the Rock Creek Cafe’. As California is experiencing its third year in a row of drought the lake has been able to maintain a depth of about 29 feet at the dam’s face. The county water agency, which was to fill the lake 2 years ago, is now adding water, sparingly, during weekends to help maintain the present water level.
The long days of summer are here and with those comes the opportunity for some fun in the sun. The campground is open and waiting for you to visit. Fishing is available at Finnon, however at this time it is catch and release. A valid fishing license is also required by the owner of the lake. The new spillway bridge is complete and is ready. The road over the dam and bridge has been paved with a chip seal covering allowing easy access to the day use area, disc golf course parking area, and of course the campsites. The Mosquito General Market and Kitchen is available for those ‘general store’ items you may need as well as sandwiches and burgers. They are open Wednesdays through Sundays. Below are some recent summertime photos.
APRIL 2014 -
MAY & JUNE 2014
A HUGE THANK YOU to the 8,000 + FIREFIGHTERS
On September 13th a fire began in the area to the east of Finnon. As with all fires it began small but grew to over 70,000 acres within two days. The fire began due to arson, according to local county authorities, and an arrest was made. The fire was named the King Fire. It burned nearly 98,000 acres before being 98% contained, and full containment is expected on Saturday, 10-4-2014. 12 homes and about 60 outbuildings fell victim to the fire. Luckily there was no loss of life reported. Finnon Lake and the surrounding area of Mosquito has been reopened since September 24. Many areas of the El Dorado National Forest remain closed at this time, however access to Finnon is open.
Finnon Lake Restoration and Area Activities needs to thank all of the fire personnel, sheriffs, police, Red Cross, animal shelters, and every volunteer that has been assisting with bringing normalcy back to the area. The fight isn’t over yet and the outcome is still unknown but these people are making a difference - so to all of them and to any evacuees may this be over soon and may no one else suffer loss or injury due to one uncaring person.
These scrolling photos show the construction to completion of the concrete base support for the gear works that open/close the drain valve, which is located at the lowest point of the lake’s bottom. Water can drain from the lake into Jaybird Creek, which begins just to the west of the dam.
This photo shows the supports and rod that goes from the control gears to the drain gate. Clicking on the photo will enlarge it to show how the supports may be used to gauge the depth of the water. As of March 7, 2013 the water is just above the sixth support (from the top).
Left to right -1) August 2011 satellite view (©BING). Blue outline shows future size of lake. 2) (Photo© RockCreekCafe.com) Aerial view April 2012 with runoff water refilling the lake. 3) July 2012 Satellite View © on photo; 4) - what the lake will be as soon as it is near capacity, note that the east end of lake (almost half) is not in photo. Click first three photos to enlarge.
Finnon Lake Recreation Area is approximately 120 acres located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. At about 2400 feet in elevation the area is quite, peaceful, and relaxing. Catch and release fishing is available at Finnon Lake, along with boating (no gas powered boats; hand row or electric trolling only), camping, hiking, and a twenty “hole” disk golf course is available. Links for more information can be located on the CAMPING page.
In addition there are many more activities and experiences that are all close by. The Eldorado National Forest, Placerville (or Old Hangtown as it was called), Gold Bug Park, The Rubicon Trail, White Water Rafting, ATV Trails, and much more are all close by.
Information on how to get to Finnon as well as links to nearby activities can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Sadly in the past three years since the dam was replaced the lake is still not full. The owner of the lake, which is actually a non-profit corporation, ruled by a seven person board of directors, has had the past three years to get Finnon filled. That hasn’t happened. As noted on their website the corporation owes the State of California an annual fee of $6,600. (Actually the fees are more - there is an annual fee of $536 plus a $148 per foot of height which totals $7344 for this year, when the dam is holding back more than 15 acre feet of water.) Finnon has been held at the 50 acre feet level, maybe less. (Information about fees, and jurisdictional status was obtained from the State of California’s website - click HERE to see the information.) Utilizing the State’s chart (upper right) Finnon appears to be in the green area as its dam is 46 feet in height and is holding more than 15 acre feet of water, so we have been told. The money for the fees comes from campsite rentals and some events the board holds on behalf of the entity that owns the lake. 19 campsites rented out for 20 days gives them the money. Yet Finnon remains at pond level rather than lake level.
One must ask that if Finnon’s board is paying the State an annual fee then why isn’t it full? They may elude to California’s drought. Finnon is located in El Dorado County. El Dorado County’s water agency is known as the EID. The EID is supposed to fill the lake, for no fee, and was to do so when the dam was completed, now three years ago. Presently EID has water available as they are selling water from their reserves to locations in other parts of the State, according to a local newspaper report. Therefore one would think water must be available! EID’s filling of Finnon doesn’t generate the EID any revenue, is that why the lake isn’t being filled? Is it because the corporation’s board can’t raise the money to pay the annual fees to the State? Why isn’t it filled yet? No one provides answers other than it should be filled ‘soon’. Considering last year’s 98,000 acre King Fire and the importance of the lake to help with fire suppression one would think keeping it full would be a major priority.
It seems that if the corporation’s board has to pay for anything over the 15 acre feet capacity and they have said it is being maintained at 50 acre feet then why not fill it all the way? Fees are based on dam size not the amount of water being held back once it impounds at a certain level. Are they paying the fees? Over the years local residents have provided ideas to raise money, made large donations, have done fund raisers but yet things remain status quo. Is part of the issue that those trying to help the board become ostracized by certain board members who seemingly can’t accept assistance? It happened to the finnonlake.com’s webmaster, and others, so who knows? It may be a simple as the corporation getting a new board of directors.
Here’s hoping that Finnon Lake will have a future rather than evaporate into history.
To contact Finnon Lake’s administrative group and ask them why they haven’t gotten Finnon filled you can contact them by: phone 530-409-5515; or e-mail to email@example.com; or postal mail to MVFA Chair, 9009 Orval Beckett Ct., Placerville, CA 95667.
Photos taken April, 2015
This selection shows some different views of the Finnon Lake Recreation Area. Click on any to enlarge and then use the forward or back arrow to scroll through the selection. Top four and lower left are the newest taken in April, 2015. Water level is about 28 feet deep at the dam’s face, lower the further you get from the dam. See the photos below for an idea of what Finnon once was, and could be again.
APRIL 2015 -
Some unanswered questions from April which still haven’t been answered to date!
JUNE and JULY 2015 Slideshow
This page hosts information for 2014 and 2015. More information regarding the lake, dam restoration, area history, and archived information may be found using the History and Restoring link above. Please note the link titled ‘A Brief History………’ can be read on the home page.
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