Popular California lake nearly full for first time in 11 years

Big Bear Lake in Southern California is over 68 feet, its highest level since November 2012, thanks to an unusually wet winter.

The lake's water level significantly dropped to around 55 feet in 2016, hitting its lowest at 54 feet in 2018, but has been steadily rising since January 2024.

An abnormally wet winter alleviated much of California's drought, replenishing several lakes and reservoirs, including Big Bear Lake.

The rising water levels have improved water quality and the habitat for fish spawning, with native plants returning to the lake area.

It is the new capacity Big Bear Lake is only 4 feet away from full capacity, a level it hasn't reached since spring 2010.

Brittany Lamson, interim general manager of the Big Bear Municipal Water District, doubts the lake will reach full capacity this year as snowmelt has finished.

Other California reservoirs, like Lake Oroville and Lake Shasta, are at or near full capacity, with several surpassing their historical average levels.