H-SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

Sep 26, 2013 8:21 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Low lake levels reveal hidden trash

The Central Coast is facing serious drought conditions, leading to water shortages in some communities.

For the first time ever, water is being drawn from Nacimiento Lake to support demand in Paso Robles.

However, there's at least one benefit to the falling water levels at our local lakes.

"There's stuff that's been submerged for years," said Scott Miller as he heads out on his boat at Lake Nacimiento.

He calls the lake home and spends much of his free time there boating and enjoying nature, but he says water levels at the lake have caused many boaters to abandon ship.

"You can see some of the rangers have put an American flag up on top of what is normally a submerged hill top," said Miller pointing at the hill top now 25 feet above the water.

Tree stumps normally under water can be seen along the now clearly showing banks, one home's boat ramp is nearly 20 feet from the water, and walls of rock now protrude nearly 30 feet above the surface.

Back in June, the main launch ramp was in full use, but in less than three months, it now sits nearly 200 feet from the water's edge.

According to lake officials, Nacimiento is now at 30% of its normal levels, but with these setbacks comes a silver lining.

"So right now we are able to see more trash and more debris," said Chelsea Modlin. "But we're using this time as an opportunity to clean up the lake."

They hope to get more than 100 people walking the now exposed banks, collecting trash along the way.

"In less than five minutes we collected a whole bag of trash," said Modlin emptying the trash in a dumpster. "Imagine what we could do with 100 people."

A cleanup day will be held at Lake San Antonio on Saturday beginning at 8:00 am. It will be followed by a barbeque and awards such as most trash collected and most unique trash item. Lake officials are setting up a time to do the same at Lake Nacimiento in the coming weeks.

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