Folsom Lake Level Improves Noticeably — Boat Speed Limit Lifted

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On the eastern end of Folsom Lake, small streams are carving their way through mud, over and around rocks and into the lake as if on a critical mission.

"I love the sound," said fisherman Jim Early, of the flowing water. "I love the smell of it. I love everything about it."

FOX40 found similar sentiments all around the lake's Browns Ravine Recreation Area on Tuesday afternoon.

"Everybody's happy...the water levels are up," boater and fisherman Rick Orbea explained.

The level of Folsom Lake is now at 79 percent of average for this time of year, 400 feet above sea level. That is up 50 feet from the lake's record low in December. It's enough of an improvement that lake managers have lifted the 5 mph speed limit for boats, though boaters are still urged to watch out for floating logs and other debris.

The snowpack that will feed reservoirs in the spring and summer is also encouraging.

Electronic readings show the water content of the statewide Sierra snowpack is at 115 percent of historical average. The last time it was that good was in 2011.

Because of the improving outlook, California's Department of Water Resources on Tuesday increased the estimated amount of water that will be delivered this year through the State Water Project from 10 percent to 15 percent. That means 15 percent of water requested by water agencies and farmers will be delivered. The amount will grow if the rainy season permits.

But, of course, it is an extreme drought that California is trying to pull out of. State water managers say the snowpack needs to be at least 150 percent of average by April 1 to ease the drought. And ground water aquifers, which many farmers rely upon, are slower to recover than reservoirs.

Back on the eastern shore of Folsom Lake, fisherman Early isn't worried. He has lived near the lake since 1970 and believes nature will find a way out of this water crisis.

"Oh yeah, she always comes through," he assured. "She always has."