STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — The sights and sounds at Oak Grove Regional Park in Stockton are a little different right now.
“The park is still open although we have some construction going on,” Judy Vasbinder said.
Vasbinder, with San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation, said this is the first lake improvement project since its installation 43 years ago.
Parts of the park, however, are closed. The man-made lake at the park is temporarily closed to fishing and other activities as crews work to restore it.
“What we’ll do is we’ll shore up all the edges so that it doesn’t deteriorate so much,” Vasbinder said. “The last couple of years we have started to notice that the bank, the lake bank, is starting to erode. And every time we go to purchase water, we’re having to purchase more. We’re getting a lot more seepage and a lot more evaporation.”
The county is using $1.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to shore up the lake to help conserve water.
“The more that we can keep, the more we get to irrigate and keep our parks green,” Vasbinder told FOX40.
Park officials said they get the water to refill the lake from the Woodland Irrigation District, but because the state is in year three of a drought, less water is being allocated to the park.
“You know a lot of the volume has been filled in with the rock base and they put a clay layer to seal it underneath. So, with those things, we’ll be able to have maybe a little bit less volume that we have to fill in, and it’ll hopefully run more efficiently so that when the public sees it, it’s not looking like our lake is being depleted so bad,” Jennifer Lara explained.
Lara, who works in the park, said the project will also include adding more picnic tables and launch pads for people to fish.
“I always say it’s fishermen and disc golfers that keep our park going as our tried-and-true park patrons,” Lara said.
Vasbinder said crews will also add aeration to the lake to help the aquatic life.
“We do have catfish; we do have trout. We do host in the summer. We have catfish tournaments, and in the winter, we do have our trout derbies,” Vasbinder said.
Oak Grove is a popular park in the summer months, attracting 1,200 to 2,000 visitors a day on busy weekends.
Lara said the project won’t just shore up the lake, but it will improve the whole park.
“It just helps with how our park looks because nobody wants to come out and see a lake that’s not so beautiful,” Lara said.
Because of construction, the county postponed its annual fishing derby, which is usually held in May until August.
Work on the lake is expected to wrap up in July just in time for the Fourth of July weekend.