SAN DIEGO — After the City of San Diego closed the Hodges Reservoir to recreational use last month to make emergency repairs to the dam, a petition has been circulating to reopen the area for windsurfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and other water activities.
“It’s been pretty frustrating, you know, we really were looking forward to using the lake this summer and they just decided to close it on us with very short notice,” said Dan Sullivan, an avid wing foiler and wind surfer who started the petition.
“When you come out here, it’s nice, warm and sunny. It’s a nice getaway,” said Sullivan. “We’re all just really anxious to get back on the lake again.”
During an inspection, the city found areas in the upstream face of the dam that needed to be sealed. To make those repairs, they needed to lower the water level 18 feet during the summer months, making the boat ramp inaccessible and other areas of the shoreline too muddy for public access.
“It does get a little bit muddy out there, but not enough to create a problem or a hazard,” said Kevin Kidd-Tackaberry, a former ranger-diver supervisor for the Public Utilities Department. He said there are plenty of safe ways to access.
“Right next to boat launch, there’s perfect spots where they could launch,” said Kidd-Tackaberry while pointing across the lake. He said there has been low water events in the past, such as in 2001 during a drought.
“It was a little bit lower than this even, and they still allowed recreation,” said Kidd-Tackaberry. “They moved out the docks, and again, it was modified from what they did in the past, but they did have recreation during those times and it worked wonderfully.”
CBS 8 contacted Doug Campbell, Assistant Deputy Director for Water System Operations and asked him why they’ve closed off water recreation at this time when they haven’t done so in the past. He said when it was low in 2001, the water level had lowered gradually due to drought conditions, but this time the manual draw-down for repairs was much quicker, leaving muddier conditions on the shoreline.
“The city mentioned a couple areas that they were concerned about that were slippery or muddy,” said Kidd-Tackaberry. “There’s about three or four of them, but those could be clearly posted, and there’s literally dozens of safe launch areas that they could launch at.”
Dan and Kevin say they’ve tried to work with the city for solutions, but no one will listen.
“Zero response. Emails, calls, no response or we’ll get back to you,” said Kidd-Tackaberry.
“I really hope they come and sit down at the table,” said Sullivan. “And work on a plan to put this back together and get us back on the water again.”
When CBS 8 spoke to personnel with Water System Operations in the Public Utilities Department about the situation, they said they’d be happy to schedule a meeting with the various user groups to talk with them about logistics and possible options. A future meeting date is to be determined.
WATCH RELATED: Inspection shows Lake Hodges Dam is in need of repairs (May 2022).