Winter Rains Fill Goleta’s Largest Freshwater Lake
For the first time in more than a decade, Lake Los Carneros is full thanks to over 28 inches of rainfall this winter in Goleta. The most recent storms added enough water to fill the lake to its maximum capacity. The lake level reached an engineered overflow pipe on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. The last time this occurred was during the 2011-2012 winter season.
According to Goleta’s Parks and Open Space Manager George Thomson, a full Lake Los Carneros is good for wildlife habitat. He said, “Migratory birds, aquatic invertebrates, fish, and other wildlife benefit from this treasured wetland. Wetland habitats at Lake Los Carneros depend on winter rains and the prolonged drought was taking its toll on wildlife that don’t fare as well when water levels are low. It is great to see Lake Los Carneros at maximum capacity once again.”
Goleta’s Parks and Open Space Division staff are monitoring water levels and keeping the overflow pipe clear of debris. A controlled release of water to downstream wetlands is being conducted to lower the lake level below the popular walking path at the southern edge of Lake Los Carneros. City staff are aiming to keep the lake as full as possible heading into the summer.
If you want to see Lake Los Carneros for yourself, it can be accessed on foot from La Patera Lane or via the Stow House entrance off Los Carneros Road. Please remember dogs are required to be on leash at all times and feeding wildlife is strongly discouraged. To learn more about the wildlife that call Lake Los Carneros home, please enjoy The Birds of Lake Los Carneros, a short documentary film made by Michael Love and Elliot Lowndes for the Santa Barbara Audubon Society: https://tinyurl.com/ynuc8atp.
Lake Los Carneros taken on March 21, 2023