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Oak Grove Regional park annual fishing derby postponed for lake restoration, water conservation effort

San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation has closed off the park's lake to begin restoration, causing some fishing events, activities to be delayed.

STOCKTON, Calif. — The San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation is doing its part to conserve water amid the drought with a lake restoration project at Oak Grove Regional Park in Stockton.

The $1.3 million initiative, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), was approved after park officials noticed the lake bank had begun to erode, causing the water levels to fluctuate.

“What we did is we got with our capital projects team and their engineers kind of came up with an idea to shore up the lake with large boulders and rocks and things like that, to help some of the erosion and water leakage,” Judy Vasbinder, Administrator of San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation, told ABC10.

According to Vasbinder, Oak Grove Regional Park purchases its water to fill its lake from the Woodland Irrigation District. However, the ongoing statewide drought has caused a water shortage, and an eroding lake can make it difficult to preserve its resources.

“The main goal is definitely for water conservation, as we found that we were purchasing water that was leaching and I mean it was going back into the ground and the aquifers and things like that,” Vasbinder said. “It wasn't being used as we intended, which was to help irrigate the park itself and the trees and the grass and everything there, and to keep the aquatic species alive.”

Credit: San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation
Oak Grove Regional Park is restoring its lake by putting down rocks and other materials to keep the water from eroding.

Oak Grove Park has an average of 1,200 to 1,500 visitors a day during the summer for events and activities including birthdays, weddings and most prominently, fishing. Vasbinder says the lake will be closed to fishers for the 10-12 week project, postponing the park’s annual Summer Catfish Derby until August.

“We have a lot of dedicated fishermen that love to go out there,” Vasbinder said. “The only thing that we have closed is the fishing and once we get done, we'll get that back open as soon as we can.”

All sections of the park besides the lake are still open to visitors. San Joaquin Parks and Recreation is aiming to have the lake reopened to the public by Fourth of July weekend.

Watch more from ABC10: Official: Stockton Heat hockey team leaves for Canada, but why?

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