The Army Corps of Engineers closed two recreation areas at Lake Kaweah on Tuesday because of dangerous riverbank instability.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office made the request for closure and the Corps closed down the Cobble Knoll and Slick Rock recreation areas. They will remain closed until conditions are safe again, according to the Corps.
The closure comes four days after Tulare County Search and Rescue teams had to rescue two people from the middle of the river at Slick Rock on April 28, according to reports in the Fresno Bee. An adult male and 7-year-old child were rescued and another adult male was still missing.
The dangerous conditions noted in Tuesday’s closure announcement are being caused by an abnormal amount of sediment that is flowing into Lake Kaweah, said a spokesperson for the Corp’s Lake Kaweah Project Office. Because of past wildfires, the string of storms in March washed large amounts of sediment down from the mountains. That’s what’s eroding the banks of the river, said the spokesperson.
Lake Kaweah is low after being drained to make room for incoming snowmelt which will continue to increase in coming months as the historic snowpack in the mountains melts.
At full capacity, Kaweah can hold 185,600 acre feet of water. It has been drawn down to 42,000 acre feet. Water is coming into the lake at 4,500 cubic feet per second and being released at about 3,200 cfs. The Army Corps expects inflows to increase as temperatures heat up, said the spokesperson.