Water Quality Improvements Underway

Work is underway on improving water quality at Canyon Lake in order to comply with water quality standards. $500,000 has been secured from the CA Dept of Water Resources by LESJWA to help support this goal. CEQA is underway and a final lake improvement project should be announced in April 2013.

By Mark Norton P.E.

LESJWA Authority Administrator

The mission of the Lake Elsinore and San Jacinto Watersheds Authority (LESJWA) is to improve water quality and wildlife habitats in Canyon Lake, Lake Elsinore, and the surrounding San Jacinto Watershed. It’s a mission not only to benefit local residents, but to also meet strict federal and state regulations for water quality.

Part of the challenge in maintaining the water quality in Canyon Lake is the natural flow of storm-water runoff that carries high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus into the lake. These substances promote excessive algae growth in the lake, which ultimately can lead to fish kills and damage to wildlife.

In 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency set specific guidelines to monitor these nitrogen and phosphorus levels, establishing what are known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). In this area, there is a TMDL Task Force of 20 agencies and organizations, including water districts, cities, and county departments, all responsible for making sure that both Lake Elsinore and Canyon Lake stay healthy and remain at safe levels.

In order to help Canyon Lake meet TMDL water quality goals, the TMDL Task Force has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the California Department of Water Resources to begin treatment measures to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in the Main Lake and the East Bay of Canyon Lake.

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