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By Tina Fisher Cunningham
Fisher Forde Media 

Big fish, big vision for Brite Lake

The Forde Files No 159


Tina Fisher Cunningham

The one thing that is missing in the Tehachapi valleys on a hot summer day is an ole swimming hole.

Michelle Vance, manager of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District, aims to remedy that defect by opening Brite Lake (Jacobsen Reservoir) to swimming.

While the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District owns Brite Lake, the Rec & Park district manages the campground and fishing access. The two public districts are negotiating a change in the historic ban on swimming in the lake.

"The process is taking place right now," water district Manager Tom Neisler told Forde Files on Dec. 4. "The [water district] board will make the final decision."

At the time of the original 1974 agreement between the Rec & Park district and the water district, Golden Hills and Stallion Springs had water treatment plants that processed water from the reservoir for domestic use. Reservoirs that hold water for domestic use prohibit any contact by humans. Both Golden Hills and Stallion Springs now use well water for domestic use and do not need the reservoir water as potable water.

Tina Fisher Cunningham

"We don't anticipate problems from more intensive use of the lake," Neisler said.

The lake, which raises and lowers depending on water availability and agricultural needs, is 65 acres at the high water line. It is 26 ½ feet deep with a silty bottom over a clay liner. The temperature varies from 58 to 65 degrees. The shorelines are rocky and muddy, and Vance has plans for a more beach-friendly environment. The lake has not had a problem with blue-green algae, as some reservoirs have had.

Neisler said the inlet-outlet structures and an old aeration system are at the bottom of the lake.

"I don't know of anything else [at the bottom]. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a boat or two down there."


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