|Location||Los Padres National Forest
Santa Barbara County, California
|Primary inflows||California Aqueduct
Santa Ynez River
|Primary outflows||Santa Ynez River|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Surface area||3,100 acres (1,300 ha)|
|Water volume||205,000 acre·ft (253,000,000 m3)|
|Surface elevation||778 ft (237 m)|
Lake Cachuma is an artificial lake located in the Santa Ynez Valley of central Santa Barbara County, California on the Santa Ynez River adjoining the north side of California State Route 154. The reservoir was created by the construction of Bradbury Dam, a 201 ft (61 m) earth-fill structure built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1953. Its surface area covers 3,100 acres (1,300 ha), with a maximum design capacity of 205,000 acre·ft (253,000,000 m3), but it is currently limited to 190,000 acre·ft (230,000,000 m3) due to sediment accumulation.
Built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1953, the name "Cachuma" comes from a Chumash village that the Spanish spelled "Aquitsumu", from the Barbareno Chumash word aqitsu'm, meaning "sign". On December 10, 1996, the Casitas Municipal Water District board of directors prohibited body contact activities such as swimming, wading, or water skiing in Lake Cachuma, reasoning that the lake was a reservoir in which 60,000 people depend upon for drinking water. In May 2011, the regulation were revised to allow peoplepowered recreational watercraft such as Kayaks and canoes on the lake as well as allow dogs on boats and eliminate "incidental body contact" with the water as a punishable offense.
A large campsite on the south shore of Lake Cachuma is administered by the Santa Barbara County Parks department. The County Parks department offers tent, RV, yurt, and group camping and fishing, boating, hiking, lake cruises, and nature programs.
The University of California, Santa Barbara rowing team regularly practices and races at Lake Cachuma and erected a permanent boathouse there just prior to the 1982-1983 school year. The lake is also a popular destination for viewing Bald Eagles from seasonal tour boats.
Neal Taylor Nature Center
Located in Santa Barbara, the Neal Taylor Nature Center, formerly the Cachuma Lake Nature Center, features exhibits and hands-on displays about the area's cultural and natural history, including local plants, animals, birds and geology. The nature center is open year-round and admission is free. Park naturalists and volunteers lead guided nature walks and cruises, and offer school and youth nature education programs and workshops.
- List of dams and reservoirs in California
- List of lakes in California
- List of largest reservoirs of California
- Bright, William; Erwin Gustav Gudde (1998). 1500 California Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning. University of California Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-520-21271-8.
- Nick Green (December 12, 1996). Metro. "Sailing OKd, but Swimmers Left High and Dry". Los Angeles Times. p. 1. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- Ethan Stewart (April 21, 2011). "Paddling the Forbidden Waters". Santa Barbara Independent 25 (275). p. 8. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lake Cachuma
- Lake Cachuma website
- Neal Taylor Nature Center - official site
- Neal Taylor Nature Center - County of Santa Barbara