Lake Watch 2015: Proactively Preparing to Preserve and Protect Lake Elsinore

City launches awareness campaign to engage the community, regional partners and businesses to prepare

Post Date:07/14/2015

Lake Elsinore is Southern California’s Largest Natural Freshwater Lake. Faced with a historic drought, low water levels, higher temperatures, and an abundance of Shad, officials have become increasingly concerned about the ecology of the lake and the vitality of the fishery.

In an effort to be proactive and prepared, the City of Lake Elsinore, in partnership with the Lake Elsinore & San Jacinto Watersheds Authority (LESJWA), have launched Lake Watch 2015 to create awareness and engage the community, local and regional resource agencies and private businesses to take part in our efforts to prepare for a potential fish kill. Interested in helping with Lake Watch 2015? Join us to be a part of the solution.

A recent fish survey conducted on behalf of LESJWA, found that Lake Elsinore’s fishery is imbalanced due to an overpopulation of Threadfin Shad. Shad are small, highly sensitive fish that hinder the water quality by eating microscopic zooplankton, which consume algae. With Shad feeding on the zooplankton in the lake, there will likely be an algae bloom thus reducing dissolved oxygen. Such conditions, ultimately lead to the demise of this delicate fish. It is nature’s way to rebalance the fish population and improve the overall health and quality of the lake.
Since 2000, LEJSWA in coordination with its partner agencies, has greatly improved water quality and wildlife habitats in Lake Elsinore, as well as in the surrounding watershed.

Successful projects to date include the following:

  • Lake Elsinore Wetlands Enhancement Project
  • Lake Elsinore Carp Removal
  • Island Wells Pump Station Improvements
  • Striped Bass Stocking
  • Lake Elsinore Destratification & Mixing System
  • Recycled Water Nutrient Removal & Conveyance Pipeline
  • Lake Habitat Improvements

Despite these efforts, Lake Elsinore is a natural lake. The current conditions have created a poor ecological condition for the lake that is difficult to sustain. A fish kill is one of nature’s way of rebalancing the food chain. While there is no indication at this time that an event is imminent, the probability is high. Lake Elsinore remains safe for recreational activities. Therefore, Lake Watch 2015 is focused on ensuring the City, regional partners and the community is ready and prepared just in case.

As part of Lake Watch 2015, the City of Lake Elsinore and LESJWA are asking the community to monitor the lake and notify the City should you notice anything abnormal, such as dead fish floating in the lake or washed up on shore. To report, please call 951-674-3124 ext. 204, email or message the City at If a fish kill takes place, community volunteers will be needed. Sign up for our interest list to receive email notifications and/or volunteer to help on our interest form found here.

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