There is no question navigating the water at Lake Perris State Recreational Area has become, in some parts, very much like boating through an obstacle course. This is no ordinary lake debris. The items boaters and anglers are encountering consist of giant tractor tires and sunken vessels. Their sudden appearance and hazard is blamed on years of drought and the lowering of water for dam repairs.
Currently, California State Parks Peace Officers are working to ensure smooth sailing, by locating and relocating objects that once sat undetected by most on the lake bed and are now poking above the surface, or semi-hidden just below.
"Since the recent drought and the initial water draw down from the dam project, objects that have been submerged for the past 30-plus years, are surfacing," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) and Resource Protection Peace Officers Association (RPPOA) Member Joel Dinnauer. Dinnauer is a State Parks Peace Officer and involved in locating and relocating the objects. "We are challenged with removing some of these objects that pose a hazard to our park visitors. The majority of the hazards are vessels that are in the high speed zone that are just 3 to 5 feet under the water. The Lake Perris Dive Team marks the hazards, creates a plan and relocates the hazards to appropriate locations. Since October of 2014 we have relocated 7-8 vessels from various locations in the lake to a 'boat graveyard' off of a popular fishing location near Sail Cove. We are continuing to monitor and relocate hazards as our water level fluctuates. We are currently working on relocating five submerged vessels that have surface in the Marina."
Long-time park visitors are amazed by what they are seeing. The lake has dropped to its lowest level since it opened back in 1973.
For media coverage of this:Orange County Register
Photos from CSLEA and RPPOA Member Joel Dinnauer.