July 9, 2008

Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif., Since You Asked Column

By Rob Young, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

Jul. 8--QUESTION: We live on the same street as East Lake in Marysville and have noticed a significant drop in the water lately. Can you tell us what's going on?

ANSWER: A whole flock of pelicans also noticed that significant drop in the water level and showed up recently to feast on the easily accessible fish. It must've been like, well, shooting fish in a barrel.

What's going on, according to City Services Director Dave Lamon, is that this is the driest year in seven years. Unlike nearby Ellis Lake, which is fed partly from the Yuba River, East Lake is fed solely by storm-water runoff -- which, by the way, makes us wonder whether those pelicans are now lying around swilling Pepto Bismol.

There's a nearby well with a pump that could be activated to partly replenish the water level, but that's probably not going to happen because running the pump isn't cheap, said Lamon.

That tells you a lot about the city's financial condition.

Instead, the city will let nature take its course and use the opportunity to clean accumulated trash from around the banks, Lamon said.

East Lake hasn't been a lake all that long, having been a gravel pit as late as the 1950s. As East Marysville developed, the storm water was drained into the pit, he said.

In other words, the city has no natural lakes. Ellis Lake was more or less of a swamp until the 1930s, when President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration came in and turned it into what has occasionally been called The Jewel of Marysville.

East Lake and Ellis Lake were connected until the 1970s when The Jewel was drained to get rid of noxious hydrilla weeds. The connection was severed for reasons that aren't clear.

A few years after The Jewel was refilled, a woman apparently drove her car into it. The sedan remained there, not too far below the surface, until it was discovered about five years ago, along with her skeletal remains.

Since You Asked is published Tuesdays. Send questions to reporter Rob Young at the Appeal-Democrat, P.O. Box 431, Marysville CA 95901, or call him at 749-4710 or e-mail him at [email protected]


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