Lake Siskiyou is nearly full again

Skye Kinkade

Since draining to its lowest point in nearly 20 years last month, Lake Siskiyou is once again almost full. However, without continuing periods of rain, the lake’s water level could get low again, said Siskiyou County General Services Manager Randy Akana.

“The water is almost to the spillway. It’s amazing,” Akana said last week, citing recent rainfall for the sudden filling of the lake. Because there is hardly any snow on the ground, rain quickly saturated the earth and much of the rain ran into Lake Siskiyou’s tributaries.

Akana said the lake “rose rapidly,” and discharge had to be adjusted at Box Canyon Dam in response.

Lake Siskiyou’s historic low was recorded in 1995, when the water was down 25 feet from the spillway. On Feb. 8, the water was down 18.85 feet, said Akana.

Last week, it was back up to just inches below the spillway.

Because there’s not as much snowpack as usual, Akana believes the full lake could be short lived since there won’t be any runoff when the weather warms.

In order to protect downstream habitats in the Upper Sacramento River, Box Canyon Dam is required by Fish and Wildlife to release at least 40 cubic feet of water per second, whether the lake is full or low.

“If we see rain periodically, the lake’s level be okay,” Akana said. “It’s up to Mother Nature.”