City Officials Weigh Ideas to Combat Erosion at Lodi Lake

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LODI --

The banks of Lodi Lake are literally crumbling into the Mokelumne River. Each year more and more falls off.

The reason? Waves caused by jet skiers going over the speed limit, as well as people climbing in and out of the lake where they're not supposed to.

The situation is so dire, one picnic structure will have to be removed soon because it's only a few feet from the water's edge.

"We have lost a lot of ground over the past few decades, so we are looking for a great solution that will protect the park and benefit its users," said Jeff Hood, director of Parks and Recreation.

Now, the city of Lodi is applying for a half-million dollar grant from the state. They want to sure the money to create a walking path to keep people away from the water's edge.

They also want to put in plants that will be above and below the water to hold the soil in place and soften the waves caused by recreational wakes.

"We have to take some steps to control it. It is as simple as that. We can't let this erosion continue to take away our biggest and best park," Lodi Mayor Bob Johnson said.

It will take at least a year to find out if Lodi will be awarded the money. Until then, the city is taking measures to protect the ground they have left. The biggest action is putting up orange plastic fencing in high-traffic areas to keep people and pets away from the side of the lake.

"The point of it is to keep people, dogs, kayaks, jet skis, from going in and out of the river where ever they want and it's been a problem. We have signs that say please don't do that, but people do it anyway," Hood said.

 

The decision to put up the fencing has mixed reactions from residents, who came out to voice their concerns at a meeting at Lodi Lake on Tuesday morning.

"This fencing here, I don't like it. Why? Aesthetically, orange looks like a crime area," said Lodi resident David Croft.

"The fence was needed. The reality is the area's that are eroding quicker than others, if we don't protect them then we're in trouble," Lodi resident Mark Hamilton said.

Other ideas tossed around include a no-wake zone for boaters, charging boaters a fee to launch their boat and keeping a fence up permanently.  Not all solutions were popular.

"OK, you don't like the fence. How would you like to see this whole area gone? Because sooner or later, this whole peninsula will float down stream," Johnson said. "What do you want? We have to do something to stop the erosion. It's not going to make everyone happy. That's part of politics."

Lodi says if they are successful in getting the grant, they won't be able to begin work until February of 2017. As for the fence, the residents will need to get used to it.