Merced Irrigation District taking precautions as Lake McClure nears capacity

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Just days ago, dozens of houseboats sat in the middle of Lake McClure. Now, they've been relocated in case the MID needs to open their spillway gates - something they haven't done in decades. (KFSN)

The Merced Irrigation District says Lake McClure is more than 90 percent full, and they're releasing water to lower water levels.

Just days ago, dozens of houseboats sat in the middle of Lake McClure. Now, they've been relocated in case the MID needs to open their spillway gates - something they haven't done in decades.

The storms may be gone but the water is here to stay, and visitors at Lake McClure are reaping the benefits as the lake is looking as full as ever.

One of those visitors is Sonny Ley. He's a Merced resident but comes to the lake to fish every couple of days.

"Just come out here to fish for fun," he said.

Ley's been coming to the lake for years, but he says Monday was different after noticing the dozens of houseboats that usually sit in the middle of the lake were gone.

"Three of four days ago, they were out here. Today, they're all gone," he said. "It's kind of amazing what's going on."

The Merced Irrigation District says about 40 houseboats in Lake McClure were relocated as a precaution in case more water needed to be released.

"If we had to open the spillway gates if that happened in the future, that they're not there and they're in a safe place," Mike Jenson with the district said.

White buoys still sit in the place where several boats were docked, not far from where the entrance of the lake's spillway gates is located.

About 7,000 cubic feet per second of water is being released from the lake, and it's still 95 percent full, but gradually getting lower. MID doesn't expect to need to open the spillway gates but says they may have to if it gets close to full capacity.

"We take it day-by-day, we're looking at the forecast and what's happening," Jenson said.

Ley says he's enjoys seeing the lake so full for the first time in a long time.

"Now it's catching up to where it's at, I'm happy to see the water up here like this," he said.

MID says they don't know when the boats will be placed back, but the owners do have access to them.
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