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Lions Lake Improvement Project

The NCRCD viewed this project as a benefit not only to Nevada County Residents but also to visitors from all over the word coming to visit the many year-round events at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.  Extended maintenance was made part of this project to ensure that the area remains accessible to Nevada County residents.

Some of the many benefits of this project to this area within the Fairgrounds are: forest health through removal of dead and dying trees, increased botanical diversity of native plants through removal of competitive invasive species, lake and spring enhancement, walking paths, wildlife habitat amelioration, culvert upgrades to reduce run-off from McCourtney Road from entering the lake, erosion control and stabilization of the lake shore, and increased recreational value of Lions Lake.

Sediment build-up and decomposed vegetative matter was removed through mechanical excavation (approximately 6,000 cubic yards). Dead trees along the south shore (adjacent to McCourtney Road) were removed along with large amounts of invasive weeds and overgrown vegetation, but maintaining at least 50% of existing riparian habitat.  Rock walls were installed around the lake for bank stabilization and fish and wildlife habitat.  Boulders and logs were placed as habitat and sunning structures.  Straw wattles were placed to help re-direct some of the runoff and rain flow while the lake was draining and during pond cleanup.

To minimize further impact of silt flowing into the lake from McCourtney Road and the adjacent field, minor re-grading was performed on the site.  Two existing culverts were replaced and one useless culvert was removed.  The drainage ditch was reshaped to eliminate surface runoff and prevent road pollution from entering the lake. Two side-by-side culverts were replaced and surrounded with rock for lake drainage.  Swales were contoured to lessen further soil erosion and help re-direct some of the rain flow.  Walking paths and parking areas were rocked with decomposed granite and tanbark to beautify and restore the landscape around the lake.

Many measures were taken to avoid disturbing the wildlife during and after construction.  Over 6,000 cubic yards was removed from the lake and relocated to the southeast corner of the dirt parking lot near Gate 4.  Straw bales were used throughout the project to protect waterways from sediment flowing into watercourses and protected areas. Wildlife were visually monitored and given “escape routes” to easily move to undisturbed areas.  Logs were placed in the lake for turtle basking, and red-winged blackbirds and many species of geese remained active before and after construction. Robinson's crew was conscientious and considerate of working around the local wildlife and avoided upsetting and agitating them beyond necessity.

We'd like to thank all of the people and companies who worked to make this project such a success: Robert G. Ingram, the Nevada County Fairgrounds Board and staff, Tim Robinson of Robinson Enterprises, Sierra Pacific Industries, Jerry Karnow, and Deborah Totoonchie.

The Next Phase

Now that this first phase was completed successfully, there will be a second phase of the project involving the community.  If you or your organization would like to install a park bench, shade structure, or picnic table with your logo on it, please contact Jan Blake at janet.blake@ncrcd.org or (530) 264-6716.

 Lions Lake - Before through After

Wildlife of Lions Lake