Bear Valley Springs Association

Lakes

Lakes

Facility Information
Week Days Open
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Saturday
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Sunday - Thurs
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Location
Phone
(661) 821-6641
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Amenity Information

Facility Rules

Four Island Lake:

Four Island Lake

4-Island Lake is a 37.5 acre lake located along the Oak Tree Golf Course.  The lake is stocked for fishing enthusiasts.  Swimming and boating (sail, canoes, catamarans, kayaks/paddleboards, row boats, and electric boats not in excess of 3 horsepower or 43 pounds thrust, and the propeller is adequately screened) are permitted after registering the boat at the Whiting Center.  This recreation area takes pride in its launch ramps, fishing docs, volleyball court, playground, picnic area, and newly renovated bathrooms. The islands are considered a bird sanctuary and are closed January 1st-May 23rd.


Cub Lake:

Cub Lake is a 9.75 acre lake is centrally located off Bear Valley Road with easy access for events.  It offers picturesque picnic areas, walking paths, an outdoor basketball court, playground area, a dock for fishing and model boats, and bathrooms. There are 5 reservable party areas for members and their guests.  Adjacent to the park is a leash free dog park.  During the summer months, Cub Lake offers “Moonlight Movies” after dark.  

Cub Lake

Days/Hours:

7 days/week

Cub Lake: To start not earlier than two hours before sunrise and to end not later than two hours after sunset.

Four-Island Lake: To start not earlier than one half hour before sunrise and end not later than one half hour after sunset.

If interested in more detailed water quality data, please Click Here

Whiting Center Launches New Online Portal!

The Whiting Center has launched a new online recreation portal! This will allow members & residents to register online for sports leagues and clubs/lessons/activities, make reservations for the Whiting Center rooms or other recreation spaces (including the lakes), and more!

For faster service, register/create an account NOW at https://bvsa.recdesk.com/

PS - Sign Ups for Inline Hockey will begin next week and you will need to an account at recdesk in order to register! So sign up now!

09/26/2022 - LAKE QUALITY DASHBOARD UPDATE

BVSA provides the data for your convenience, but please determine your own personal risks/conditions and the fact that this is an unsupervised area and natural water body. During the summer, this information can fluctuate rapidly based on water temperature and usage.

The link to the state website is here: https://mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/where/freshwater_events.html

Lake measurements are taken every 2 weeks during April through September. E.coli and Cyanobacteria are tested as necessary based on water appearance and previous test results.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Four Island Lake Fish Die Off 7/22-7/25)

Why did the fish die off happen?

In order to understand what is happening within the ecosystem of the lakes, we need to understand biomass and carrying capacity.Biomass is the amount of living organisms within a given area or volume. Carrying capacity is the amount of living organisms that can safely reside within a given area or volume. When the biomass is higher than carrying capacity, catfish outcompete the desirable fish for the available oxygen. Low oxygen levels are caused by naturally occurring algae bloom/die off cycles.  

Based on guidelines established by the University of California Davis, the fish carrying capacity of Four Island Lake is between 2,600 lbs (low fertility) and 10,400 lbs (high fertility). After the fish die off in 2019, the consultants had very little data to estimate the number of catfish. It was assumed that it was approximately 10,000+ lbs after the 2019 fish die off.  Unfortunately, we now know that number was gravely underestimated.  It is conservative to say we have at least 20,000 lbs of catfish within Four Island and the true number is much higher, possibly as high as 40,000 lbs.  It is estimated that 6000 lbs of fish were removed in the recent die off incident which makes it easy to see where the problem lies. We are at least 2.5 times the highest and 10 times the lowest recommended carrying capacity of the lake.  The catfish simply outcompete the desirable fish for oxygen and deplete all of the available oxygen resources because catfish can survive in lower dissolved oxygen levels.  Our consultant now believes that this has been an ongoing problem and significantly contributed to the last fish die off that occurred in 2019 and previously.  

What is an algae bloom?

The LQAC is working with the BVSA and the California State Water Board to prevent, monitor, and communicate algal blooms in our lake. Cyanobacteria, sometimes called blue-green algae, are found in all types of water. Cyanobacteria grow quickly, or bloom, when the water is warm, stagnant,and full of nutrients. Blooms may not be visible if they are below the surface, or may appear as foam, scum, or mats on the surface of the water. During a bloom, algae grows and produces massive amounts of oxygen during the day and then consumes massive amounts overnight, which is why the fish die off was noted in the early morning hours.  Sometimes,cyanobacteria blooms produce toxins. Swallowing water with cyanobacteria toxins can cause serious illness in people, pets, and wildlife.

The LQAC regularly checks the water at Four Island Lake for cyanobacteria and related toxins. Findings are reported to the BVSA and the State of California.  

On 7/13, our morning dissolved oxygen (DO) was at 5.95 mg/l.The evening reading was 12.48 mg/l. A large amount of cyanobacteria had been present on the surface of the water that week. The DO, and cyanobacteria test results support that we were in an algae bloom.

There are reports that someone was spraying the shore around Four Island – did this cause the fish die off? Are we treating the lakes?

The BVSA has emphasized water quality suitable for public safety as a top priority to ensure that the lake is open and safe for recreational activities. Many of our efforts when the LQAC was formed have been focused on reducing the unwanted nutrients within the lake (ex. lily pads,floating islands, Phoslock, etc). However, low levels of dissolved oxygen are also an issue in stabilizing the complicated ecosystems of our lakes. Earlier this year, we had contracted with Marine Biochemists to treat both Cub and Four Island lakes bi-weekly.  Marine Biochemists are licensed, certified and insured aquatic applicators.  These applications would include algicides, dyes, and enzymes as needed. As part of the contract, Marine Biochemists is also responsible for obtaining any required permitting. Based on the results from 7/13, we contacted our vendor Marine Biochemists to focus on reducing the algae and cyanobacteria at their next scheduled treatment date on 7/19. On the day of this treatment, the DO was 3.06 mg/l which is very low and a significant decrease from 7/13, indicating a natural algae die off was already occurring.  Marine Biochemists treated the lake with Copper Sulfate, following appropriate application protocols and guidelines.  

The fish die off occurred due to an extreme overabundance of catfish biomass outcompeting the desirable fish for available oxygen within Four Island Lake. The low oxygen levels were caused by a naturally occurring algae bloom/die off cycle. It was not due to the routine algicide application. One of our top priorities is a safe water quality environment for our residents. Water treatment to control cyanobacteria is part of that plan.

Is Four Island safe to swim and boat?

Based on the lab results and visual appearance, Four Island remains in the Caution Tier - the lowest of the three tiers the state issues. Based on this tier, the state recommends the following:

-You can swim in the water but stay away from algae or scum in the water.

-Keep children away from any floating algae in the water or shore.

-Do not drink the water or use it for cooking.

-Do not let pets drink the water or scum in the shore.

 

BVSA provides the data for your convenience, but please determine your own personal risks/conditions and the fact that this is an unsupervised area and natural water body. During the summer, this information can fluctuate rapidly based on water temperature and usage.

The link to the state website is here: https://mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/where/freshwater_events.html

Lake measurements are taken every 2 weeks during April through September. E.coli and Cyanobacteria are tested as necessary based on water appearance and previous test results.

How many aerators are in Four Island Lake?

We currently have 16 aerators within Four Island. More aerators would be useful. In an effort to minimize the effecton the budget, we will be adding an additional aeration system to the next reserve study which would allow us to put off purchasing them until the funds are set aside in the next 3-5 years. Given the biomass issues we are facing, an additional aeration system would have only saved more catfish. We ultimately will need an additional system, but the catfish must be dealt with first.

Why didn’t the fish at Cub Lake die?

Based on data collected in June, Cub Lake would have had a fish die off if the BVSA Board of Directors had notintervened and directed staff and outside consultants towards implementing preventative measures. Cub Lake is generally sampled, treated, and managed the same as Four Island Lake. The main difference between the two lakes is that Cub does not have the extreme catfish biomass problem. With fewer catfish, the desirable species are able to survive lower dissolved oxygen periods for short amounts of time. At this time, we believe this is primarily due to predation from adult largemouth bass and channel catfish which are species currently absent from Four Island Lake.

 Why don’t we just drain and deepen Four Island Lake?

Four Island Lake is the primary irrigation source for the Oak Tree Golf Course. As such there must be water atleast 5 feet deep within the lake from April through October. During the winter non-irrigation months, the lake collects runoff and fills. This runoff is waterthat is collected at no cost to the BVSA members and supplies most of the water for the golf course during the months of April-July. If the lake is drained it takes time (months) for the bottom to dry to the point that heavy machinery can safely operate on the lake bed. Since we cannot have the lake drained for this period of time due to irrigation and water collection needs there is no easy, effective way to drain and deepen Four Island Lake.

 What is the plan going forward?

Biomass of catfish is our largest challenge, and until we bring it under control, we will be fighting a losing battle.  Multiple plans have been presented to our General Manager and Board of Directors by our consultant. These ideas will be discussed at the next Lake Quality Advisory Committee Meeting. Currently, the most viable plan appears to be that around November, we would pump water from Four Island upstream into Jacks Hole and Cub Lake.  This will reduce water levels in Four Island which will make it easier to harvest the catfish biomass out of the lake using seine nets.  

Though it sounds counterintuitive, some good did come from this fish die off. In the course of removing the fish from the die off and noting the various sizes, we were able to receive insight that our fish stocking program and overall fish management plan was working as planned. It’s very rare and expensive to gain this kind of information. For example, 4” large-mouth bass that were introduced in January 2021, had achieved growth to 16” by July 2022.  This is better than anticipated growth.  Additionally, the 7th hole hatchery pond still has bluegill, green sunfish, and golden shiners whichcan be harvested and transplanted so BVSA still has a way to reduce the overall stocking costs once the catfish biomass issue has been resolved.

 I have more questions. OR I want to be involved in what the Lake Quality Advisory Committee is doing.

Members are welcome to contact the LQAC via email at bvlqac@gmail.com.  There are also monthly Lake Quality Advisory Committee meetings. The next meeting is scheduled for this Monday, August 1st at 6pm at the Whiting Center. Members can also join the meeting via zoom.Details will be on the agenda posted  days to come.

Lake measurements are taken every 2 weeks during April through September. BVS provides these data for your convenience but please determine your own personal risks/conditions and the fact that this is an unsupervised area and natural water body. During the summer, this information can fluctuate rapidly based on water temperature and usage.

07/18/2022 - The cyanobacteria "Caution" tier is the lowest of the three that the state issues. There were no detectable toxins present in the water but cyanobacteria was identified on a microscope analysis which triggered the caution level. The next cyanobacteria sample will be sent into the lab next week.

If interested in more detailed water quality data, please go to https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1XlJ4UIlFF9qFVaevzmxpQZJ1E_AkAyLd?usp=sharing

7/1/2022 - Harmful Algal Blooms
The LQAC is working with the BVSA, and the California State Water Board to prevent, monitor and communicate algal blooms in our lakes. Cyanobacteria, sometimes called blue-green algae, are found in all types of water. Cyanobacteria grow quickly, or bloom, when the water is warm, stagnant, and full of nutrients. Cyanobacteria blooms usually occur during the summer and fall, but can occur anytime during the year. Blooms come in different colors, from green or blue to red or brown. The blooms may not be visible if they are below the surface, or may appear as foam, scum, or mats on the surface of the water. Sometimes, cyanobacteria blooms produce toxins. Swallowing water with cyanobacteria toxins can cause serious illness in people, pets and wildlife. Decreasing incidence of algal bloom and cyanobacterial toxins is a priority for the LQAC. The LQAC is working with the BVSA to reduce algal bloom by reducing the amount of nutrients that are flowing into the lake and maintaining optimal water levels in the lake. The LQAC has been involved in adding aquatic plants that absorb nutrients from the lake on floating islands, along the shorelines, and in waterways that empty into the lakes, adding compounds such as Phoslock to the lake bed to bind nutrients in the soil so that they don’t enter the water, and by providing the public with information on the harmful effects of using weed killer and fertilizers that increase nutrient load in water run-off from individual properties. In addition to preventing algal bloom, the LQAC consistently collects data on water quality and water levels. The LQAC regularly checks the water at Four Island Lake for cyanobacteria and related toxins. Findings are reported to the BVSA and the state of California. As this article is being written (early June 2022),there are no detectable toxins in Four Island Lake. That can change quickly as temperatures increase and water levels decrease. The LQAC recommends you check for current information on algal blooms and toxins before you, your family, or your pets have contact with the water. For up to date information on Four Island Lake water quality, see the dashboard on this site.

Lake Habitats:

Cub Lake Habitat Map
4-Island Lake Habitat Map

04/04/2022 - Recycled Christmas Tree Habitats

By Fred Hicks

Lake Quality Advisory Committee Member (LQAC)

The LQAC would like to thank all the residents that donated Christmas trees to be recycled into our lakes.  In total 137 Christmas trees were collected and placed within the lakes creating 27 underwater habitats on January 22nd, 2022. We had 13 community resident volunteers, and 7 volunteers from Kern River Fly Fishers. Kern River Fly Fishers is a local fly fishing club located in Bakersfield that has assisted the LQAC with lake habitat improvement projects.  This project utilized multiple trucks with trailers, and three large 18–20-foot boats with outboard motors to place the trees in specific locations. These locations were pre-selected to improve the Young of the Year (YOY) survival rate and increase angler success.  The Christmas tree recycling program proved to be a cost effective first step towards correcting the habitat deficiency currently within our lakes.    

Underwater aquatic habitats will provide the base building block for a food web to begin.   First microorganisms, and small insects attach to the bark and thrive. Small fish are then attracted because of the small organisms upon which they feed.  Small fish also utilize the space between the branches and trunks for safety, and shelter.  Larger fish are then attracted by the smaller fish which they prey upon.  Within the Bear Valley lakes birds, and turtles are at the top of the food pyramid and will utilize these habitats as they feed upon the fish that reside around and within them.   Essentially, think of these aquatic habitats as your refrigerator and if you’re like most people (fish in this case) your most comfortable chair is relatively close to the fridge not on the farthest end of the house.    

In the accompanying maps you will be able to see the four areas that were selected for the habitat placements.  The maps can also be found on the BVSA website at the following address: https://www.bvsa.org/amenities/lakes.  The marked locations are accompanied by Google gps coordinates which are also listed so you can easily locate the habitat on your next angling adventure.  Each location contains approximately 35 trees over a 30’ wide *30’ long triangle so be careful where you cast if you want to get your lure back.  We hope you have a wonderful May and please share some of your angling/lake photos with BVLQAC@gmail.com.  

10/1/2021 ARTIFICIAL FLOATING ISLANDS (AFIs)

Lake Quality Advisory Committee - Rick and Linda Flores

One of the things that SOLitude (our lake management consultant) discovered in its initial evaluation of 4-Island Lake, was that there are NO aquatic plants on the floor of the lake.  The lake is man made, and it has a hard granite bottom. At one time, there were aquatic plants on the bottom, but it is now a desert.  Clean, healthy lakes depend on aquatic plants for improved water quality, erosion control, fish habitat, and algae control (by absorbing nutrients) to name a few.  

SOLitude recommended, however, that before pursuing an in-depth planting project, the water quality needed to be improved and stabilized. In the interim, the LQAC has initiated a couple of smaller pilot plant projects in the 7th Hole Pond of the golf course.  One is the planting of over 200 waterlilies.  The other is the use of Artificial Floating Islands (AFIs.)

AFIs are small man-made floating structures that allow aquatic plants to grow in water that is typically too deep for them. They are mini ecosystems which not only absorb nutrients, but also provide a habitat for fish and other organisms. The idea for AFIs originated in Canada and has since been used in several European countries and Japan, as well as the United States.  Elaborate AFI’s can be purchased for thousands of dollars, but our team of innovators analyzed models, and designed and built five to suit our needs.

Initially,using 4” corrugated tubing filled with plastic bottles, PVC hardware cloth, coconut coir (fiber extracted from the husk), and a variety of aquatic plants –members of the LQAC constructed two small AFIs. These were placed in the 7th Hole Pond to see how well they would tolerate the environment/conditions.  It took some of the plants a few weeks to recover from the shock of transplanting, but now, they appear to be thriving.

In August, LQAC members constructed three additional AFIs, which are approximately ten times larger than the original ones. Lilies, which had previously been planted in soil (around the perimeterof the pond,) were in jeopardy of drying out, due to the receding shoreline.  Therefore, they were transplanted into the new AFIs, and they also appear to be thriving.

Moving the lilies into the AFIs will allow relocation as needed and maintenance as required, while providing an aquatic habitat and nutrient filtration.  Once established, some of the AFIs may be moved to 4-Island Lake, where they will be monitored in preparation for larger scale projects.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Lake Quality Advisory Committee at bvlqac@gmail.com.

4/27/2021 - Lake Restoration Efforts


Lake Restoration in Bear Valley

Attention Residents! The BVSA Board contracted with SOLitude Lake Management to repair and restore our lakes. During the next month you will see workers applying Phoslock® to Four Island and Cub Lakes, as well as Jack’s Hole and the Seven-Hole Pond. This Phoslock® application will sink to the bottom and bind to the phosphorus that is saturating the lakes’ sediment. The excess phosphorus has accumulated since the lakes were created and is a key element responsible for the toxic cyanobacterial bloom last summer and the fish-die-off two years ago which led to lake closures.  Phoslock®, along with control of additional nutrients in run-off such as fertilizer, effluent, Roundup, detergents and manure, will keep our lakes open. The application is non-toxic. Please continue enjoying recreational activities in the lake. There are no negative effects on humans, fish, or wildlife. Phoslock® is even applied to drinking water reservoirs. LQAC has posted frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the webpage and are happy to answer any additional questions; please email bvlqac@gmail.com.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ’s

 How does Phoslock work?

Phosphates in the lake water and soil feed the algae responsible for toxic blooms. The algae are also responsible for using the oxygen in the lake and causing fish die offs. Phoslock is a safe non-toxic clay that is applied to the bottom of the lake. It settles to the lake bed and blankets the soil, absorbing phosphates in the soil and water. Any phosphates that enter the lakes through runoff should also bind to the Phoslock. 

 Will Phoslock application produce any health and safety issues?

Phoslock is used on drinking water reservoirs. It does not harm humans, pets, fish, or wildlife. Swimmers and anglers can use the lakes, even during application.

 Will fish have trouble spawning if the Phoslock layer is on the bottom?

No. Fish can move the layer of Phoslock on the bottom of the lakes and create nesting areas.

 Where would the Phoslock be applied? What happens if the layer gets disturbed, like near the shoreline? 

Phoslock would be applied to the entire lake. The thin layer of Phoslock over the bottom of the lake may be disturbed by swimmers or anglers over time but will not reduce the effectiveness. Phoslock will continue to absorb phosphates until the binding sites are full.

 Can Phoslock be applied incrementally so the burden of the cost can be spread over time?

Application of Phoslock will be most effective if applied in a single dose and bulk costs are significantly lower than purchasing small amounts over time.

 It already looks as though algae are growing, what if we have an algae bloom?

If there is an algae bloom, an algaecide will need to be applied to kill the algae before Phoslock can be applied, increasing the cost.

 After initial application, how long will the Phoslock continue to work?

It stops working when the product is saturated with phosphate. SOLitude Lake Management is 100% sure that the treatment dosage will reduce current phosphorus and that phosphorus CANNOT unbind. Future problems would be limited to additional phosphates entering the lake.

 What if more nutrients come into the lake from runoff?

The Phoslock will bind to additional phosphates entering the lakes until it is saturated. It would take years of additional phosphate to reach the lake levels before treatment with Phoslock.

What if we do nothing?

If we do nothing, the algae blooms, fish die-offs and production of cyanobacterial toxin will continue to cycle each year. The lake will be unsafe for recreational use. We will lose the investment we have made in fish stocking ($20,000 + all previous years) and we will have to pay to refill the lake water. The clean-up of a toxic lake is far more costly than the application to correct the problem.

 

Additional info and questions can be emailed to the LQAC email at bvlqac@gmail.com