California State Parks have issued an emergency order for the closure of Lake Natoma in the Folsom State Recreation area from public access area Wednesday night as the arrival of an atmospheric river into the region brought heavy precipitation the area, requiring a prompt increase in the release of water from Folsom Lake to an expected level of 35,000 cubic feet per second


The increased release is deemed necessary to prepare for a heavy increase of inflow into Folsom Lake as warmer temperatures and heavy rains are expected to cause rapid snowmelt and runoff at the higher elevations.  

Due to the increased water release, Barry C. Smith, California State Parks Superintendent for the Gold Fields District that includes the Folsom Lake Recreation area issued the following order shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday, Mar. 9.  The order will remain in place until futher notice, or when officials deem the water levels recede to a safe level. 


Smith’s order reads as follows: 

Due to the increased water release from Folsom and Nimbus Dams the following restrictions apply to the public use of Lake Natoma in the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area:

  1. No person shall launch or operate any boat, vessel, or other passenger carrying flotation device on that portion of Lake Natoma between Alder Creek and Nimbus Dam when the flow volume is 20,000 cubic feet per second, and above, as measured at Folsom Dam by the Bureau of Reclamation.
  2. As above, the entire surface of Lake Natoma shall be closed when the flow volume reaches 35,000 cubic feet per second.
  3. This order is in effect for the health and safety of persons, property, and resources. This order shall be rescinded once the flow volume returns to a safe level.


  1. Employees, officers, contractors, lessees, and permittees of the State Department of Parks and Recreation, US Bureau of Reclamation entering the area on official business.
  2. Those non-employees accompanied by the above-described officials who may be in the area on official business.

This order is in effect for the health and safety of persons, property, and resources.

Exceptions to this order may only be granted in writing by the Gold Fields District Superintendent at 7755 Folsom-Auburn Road, Folsom, CA 95630. Nothing herein shall be construed in derogation of other provisions of law.


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