Permits in hand, workers from Del Norte County Roads cut a trench in the sand Monday to release the rising waters of Lake Earl.

Community Development Director Heidi Kunstall said the bar was breached at 9:45 a.m.

“The lake was at 10.57 feet, which is pretty high,” she said. “We had some flooding over Kellogg Road and Lower Lake Road.”

Authorization was given by the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors at their Jan. 9 meeting when the lake was at 8.26 feet.

“It is likely that the Crescent City area will receive enough rainfall in the following 30-day period to cause the lake levels to rise above 9.5 feet, causing flooding along portions of Kellogg Road, Lower Lake Road and the Pacific Shores subdivision,” a road department staff report said, noting flooding could lead to dangerous conditions for motorists and residents.

Kunstall said she knew late Friday the lake would need to be breached soon and obtained the necessary emergency permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the California Coastal Commission.

She said conditions were ideal for breaching the bar and doing so took less time than previous operations. Dozer operator Ben LaFazio dug the trench allowing the lake to flow into the ocean.

The county regularly breaches the sandbar when flooding becomes a concern to homes and county roads. In March of 2017, an unknown subject(s) hand dug a trench across the bar, releasing the lakes into the ocean. In January of 2016, the County breached the bar, due to flooding following heavy rain in the area.

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