Barricades planned for dam |

Barricades planned for dam

TRUCKEE – The Bureau of Reclamation is planning to compensate for security “vulnerabilities” at eastern Nevada County’s Boca Reservoir dam by placing removable barricades on both sides of the paved road that crosses the structure.

The barricades, when in use, would cut off paved access to the boat ramp on the western side of the reservoir and are expected to be constructed by late spring or early summer.

“We’ve taken action to be prepared to limit access should we have to,” said Jeff McCracken, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

McCracken said every dam is different and that Boca was singled out because of its unique features, which includes the public road that runs directly on top of the dam, he said.

“There are vulnerabilities that we are aware of,” said McCracken.

The decision to build the barricades, which would rise from under the ground when activated, was made by the bureau after security assessments were done on the structure.

“It is our facility, and we are responsible to protect it,” he said. “It was our decision.”

The Boca Tournament Association, which uses the lake for slalom water-ski tournaments, isn’t too worried about the bureau’s plans. In fact, Mary Morrow, vice president of the association, said the move would be positive if water levels at the reservoir are kept higher than last year.

“For us, it would be a good thing because we would have our season back to what it should be,” said Morrow.

Last year, the tournament association closed its tournament course six weeks earlier than normal because of low water levels.

Morrow said that if access across the dam road was limited, the bureau would likely fill the reservoir to higher levels because the fear of security breaches at the dam would be minimized.

“Almost everyone would benefit from higher lake levels,” said Morrow, who noted that the only disadvantage would be difficulty in reaching the boat ramp.

Jimmy Capps, who works in the fishing department at Ace Mountain Hardware in Truckee, said the reservoir and the boat ramp sees heavy weekend traffic by boaters from Nevada and fishermen during the summer. Flyfishermen, however, usually fish the eastern side of the lake and the inlet to the reservoir.

“During the summertime, it is an extremely popular place to go,” said Capps.

Boca Reservoir is fed by the Little Truckee River. It has a surface area of 980 acres when full. Boca, along with Prosser and Stampede reservoir, is operated by the Bureau of Reclamation for water storage, recreation and flood protection purposes.

Fishermen catch rainbow, brook and brown trout at the lake, as well as kokanee salmon.

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