Editor’s note: The Alpine Mountaineer is presenting to our readers a monthly report on repair work to the Lake Gregory Dam, provided to us by the Lake Gregory Improvement Committee (LGIC). The 80-year-old dam at Lake Gregory Regional Park is undergoing rehabilitation after being deemed a “high hazard dam” by the California Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD). According to the county’s Special Districts Department, the Lake Gregory Dam must be retrofitted to meet seismic safety requirements. An earthen stabilization buttress will be built on the downstream side of the dam. The following is the next update in the series.
Just in time for winter rains, the California Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) has approved the addition of water to Lake Gregory to the level of three feet below the spill basin.
This is a major milestone and happened due to close cooperation between the DSOD, San Bernardino County officials, the contractor and various consultants involved.
We at the Lake Gregory Improvement Committee (LGIC) realize that sounds like some public relations fluffery, but in this case, it is real and meaningful for our community. That has not always been the case.
The work creating the buttress to the existing earthen dam has been going well, owing in part to the seven-day-a-week construction schedule by the contractor, RockForce Construction.
Currently, crews have brought the top level of the buttress to less than about 40 feet from the crest of the dam. This week’s storms have halted work, but crews should return next week, along with the large dump trucks hauling fill material and the boulders which are used to provide slope protection (known as rip rap). It should be filled to the crest by early February, assuming we don’t have another round of winter storms such as we’ve seen this week.
The key to the construction schedule has been to get enough done to allow the lake to accumulate water instead of draining off.
There was an inspection by DSOD personnel on Jan. 10. Following that inspection, DSOD said the water level could come up roughly five feet, bringing the lake up to three feet below the top of the spillway.
The water level had been allowed to drop by eight feet, which is why the North Shore beach area became nothing more than a giant muddy field.
When will the lake be allowed to rise to the level of the spillway? It is projected to occur after the dam buttress is complete and after the instrumentation monitoring the dam assures everyone that everything is stable.
Hopefully, that will occur sometime in February, after the rip rap is installed. Then it would be appropriate for all of us to begin vigorous rain dancing, because the lake’s only source of water is from rain and/or snow melt runoff.
In other news, the county is still continuing the planning for the replacement of the restroom that used to be located next to the old Crest Forest Fire Station 29 (which currently is getting a major facelift from County Fire).
The current plan is to construct one near the Crestline-Lake Gregory Chamber of Commerce office. It does, however, take time as it involves prioritization, funding, county permits and bidding. We on the committee are of the opinion that the county does expect to follow through on the replacement.
All in all, we are pleased with the construction progress, the cooperation we’ve observed and the commitment of the parties involved. We also want to recognize the patience the community has had in tolerating the construction phases and everything leading to it.
Finally, 2nd. District Supervisor Janice Rutherford has followed this effort every step of the way and put her shoulder to it (and sometimes her foot!) to assure it got done. If everything goes well, including the results of a wet rainy winter, Lake Gregory should be ready for a great summer!
About the Lake Gregory Improvement Committee
The LGIC was formed in 2011 by second district Supervisor Janice Rutherford and consists of Rick Dinon, Leslie Dodge-Taylor, Mick Hill, Conrad Newberry, Kyle Schulty, and John Short. The committee is charged with communications to and from residents, monitoring progress, and offering suggestions to county staff and consultants involved in planning and constructing repairs to the earthen dam on Lake Gregory.
Submitted by Rick Dinon, LGIC chairperson