Lake Piru

Lake Piru is a reservoir located in Los Padres National Forest and Topatopa Mountains of Ventura County, California, created by the construction in 1955 of the Santa Felicia Dam on Piru Creek, which is a tributary of the Santa Clara River.

Lake Piru
LocationLos Padres National Forest,
Topatopa Mountains,
Ventura County,
southern California
Coordinates34.4616°N 118.7511°W / 34.4616; -118.7511
Primary inflowsPiru Creek
Agua Blanca Creek
Primary outflowsPiru Creek
Catchment area421.4 sq mi (1,091 km2)
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area1,240 acres (500 ha)
Water volume83,244 acre⋅ft (102,680,000 m3)
Surface elevation1,043 ft (318 m)
ReferencesU.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lake Piru

United Water Conservation District

The elevation of the reservoir is 1,043 ft (318 m), and the elevation of the dam spillway is 1,055 ft (322 m).[1] The dam is owned and operated by the United Water Conservation District based in nearby Santa Paula, California.[2][3] The district is a multi-service district providing flood control, recreation services, surface and groundwater conservation, groundwater replenishment, and wholesale water for agriculture and urban uses to the Santa Clara River Valley and Oxnard Plain. Formed on December 5, 1950, under the Water Conservation Act of 1931,[4] it owns approximately 2,200-acre around and including the lake and dam (890 ha).[5]

Lake Piru Recreation Area

The Lake Piru Recreation Area, along the western shore, has about 60 acres (24 ha) with various recreational facilities for camping, boating, fishing, swimming, and picnicking.[6] The 238 campsites have water and electric hookup along with a snack bar. There are 66 boat slips with a full-service marina.[5] The lake is situated downstream from Pyramid Lake and can be accessed from Piru Canyon Road near the town of Piru, California.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has developed a safe eating advisory for Lake Piru based on levels of mercury or PCBs found in fish caught from this water body.[7]

Invasive species

Quagga mussels became established in the Lake Piru and then downstream in the Lower Piru Creek in 2013. While this was the first discovery in Ventura County, they are an invasive species found in various rivers and lakes in the U.S.[8][9] As of 2014, the district will be exploring options using a technical panel consisting of state Fish and Wildlife staff as well as representatives from the National Marine Fisheries Service and other federal, state, and local agencies. The district has to develop plans to deal with further colonization.[10] The Casitas Municipal Water District that manages nearby Lake Casitas suggested that the reservoir be drained. Poisoning it with a potassium solution was also considered.[11]

See also


  1. Department of Water Resources (2009). "Station Meta Data: Lake Piru (PRU)". California Data Exchange Center. State of California. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  2. United Water Conservation District. "Santa Felicia Dam". Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  3. Wenner, Gretchen (March 12, 2014) "Water meeting brings crowd to Oxnard" Ventura County Star (subscription may be required for this article)
  4. Water Code §74000 et seq. California Legislative Information Retrieved 18 December 2014
  5. "Municipal Service Review: Recreation and Park Services - Special Districts" (March 16, 2005) Ventura Local Agency Formation Commission
  6. Richard McMahon (1 March 1999). Camping Southern California. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-56044-711-5. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  7. Monserrat, Laurie (2016-01-28). "Lake Piru". OEHHA. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  8. Coyne, Alasdair (January 27, 2014) "Quagga mussels loose in Santa Clara watershed" Ventura County Star (subscription may be required for this article)
  9. Wenner, Gretchen (October 26, 2014) "Lake Piru, groundwater jewel, needs costly TLC" Ventura County Star (subscription may be required for this article)
  10. Wenner, Gretchen (December 15, 2014) "Quagga concerns alter irrigation practice" Ventura County Star (subscription may be required for this article)
  11. Wenner, Gretchen (January 18, 2015) "Poison Lake Piru? Option on table to kill quagga mussels" Ventura County Star
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