Strict speed limits imposed on boats at Lake Sonoma again this summer

A year after first imposing strict speed limits for boating on Lake Sonoma, the US Army Corps of Engineers is again speed cap for boats using the lake for outdoor and water recreation this summer.

Lake Sonoma continues to experience historically low water levels due to persistent drought conditions in the region. According to the Army Corps, which owns and operates the lake, these low water levels create an increase in underwater hazards such as trees and vegetation that now sit on or just below the surface of the water. .

Due to these hazards, the Army Corps advises visitors that boats will not be permitted to travel more than 5 mph or produce a wake in the Warm Springs arm of the lake, beginning at the Rockpile Road bridge.

The Dry Creek Arm of the man-made lake will also be subject to these expanded “no-wake zones” beginning upstream from Falcons Nest Campground. Normal boating activities will be permitted between Falcons Nest Campground and the Rockpile Road Bridge.

“The lake is still very big, there’s a lot of room on the water,” said Lake Sonoma harbor master Larry Ceniceros. “They put these (no-wake zones) just so people don’t start running around and having trouble with tree vegetation.”

Ceniceros said no-wake zones worked well last year for visitors. “There are still a lot of waterways,” he said.

The Corps also expects increased wait times at the lake’s public boat launch, which is the only open launch area on the lake. Yorty Creek and Lake Sonoma resort area boat launches are closed.

“Since the (public) launch pad is the only one open, I suggest people come early,” Ceniceros said. He also noted that boats will be subject to mold inspection which the army corps is trying to keep out of the lake and its waterways.

Boaters are advised to exercise caution when boating on Lake Sonoma as conditions change daily as water levels drop throughout the dry season.

For more information, call the Lake Sonoma Visitor Center at 707-431-4533.

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