Crane Valley Dam in Madera County 'Working as expected' as storm runoff spills out

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Water gushes out of the Crane Valley Dam at Bass Lake and spills into North Fork Willow Creek. (KFSN)

It is not your everyday sight at Bass Lake, as water levels continue to rise with the wave of wet weather. Water gushes out of the Crane Valley Dam at Bass Lake and spills into North Fork Willow Creek.

"You almost don't have to go to Yosemite, you just need to go to Bass Lake right now they're everywhere," said Michelle Miller, Owner Millers Landing.

According to PG&E, at this point the dam is functioning as expected, saying this is not a controlled release.

"They're not designed as long term water storage; it's designed to capture exactly what's going on right now. Winter storm runoff, snowmelt, and use that water to generate clean hydroelectric power-- in the spring in particular," said Denny Boyles, PG&E.

Almost 1,700 cubic feet of water per-second are flowing out of the spillway, prompting evacuations and warnings in some North Fork communities.

"We have an emergency plan in place with local authorities that we did activate when we saw the inflows increasing," said Boyles.

Downstream is Kerckhoff Reservoir, because of the dangers associated with the heavy flow PG&E is asking people to not use it for recreational purposes. They said they are expecting all reservoirs to be higher this year -- though they typically release before winter for additional storage Bass Lake releases later in the year.

We caught up with Millers Landing Owner Michelle Miller en-route to the Bass Lake Chamber meeting.

"We had some really dry years there and our lake levels were very low, so it's always nice to see this kind of rain and a full lake makes for a great summer."

Miller said these water levels are at heights she has not seen in her 15 years at the lake. She adds it's bringing a promising outlook for a full lake this summer.

"California needs it. It's unfortunate that were getting it all of it at the same time but we'll take it as it comes."
Related Topics:
weatherwaterrainmadera countyBass LakeNorth Fork
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