News Releases

Rain is good news for Corps reservoirs

Published April 13, 2018

A fun day out on the water.


Sailing into the sunset.

Portland, Ore. – Although snowpack levels are still below normal according to the National Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Portland District doesn’t solely depend on snowpack to fill its reservoirs.

“Snowpack generally equates to less than 10 percent of the Willamette system storage,” said Erik Petersen, Portland District operations project manager. “In order to fill the reservoirs, we need a steady supply of spring and early summer rains.”

Portland District refills its 11 Willamette Valley and two Rogue River Basin reservoirs in preparation for the spring and summer conservation season. That stored water supports a variety of purposes such as fish, wildlife, hydropower and recreation.

“There was moderately heavy precipitation in the basin last week and the April model shows more rain in the forecast which is a positive outlook for our reservoir refill season; people who enjoy recreating on the reservoirs during summer months should expect a pretty good season,” he said.

The Corps, working in collaboration with its water management partners, balances the competing needs of the reservoirs’ many purposes, recognizing high reservoir water levels are very important to recreation enthusiasts and the businesses that support boating, fishing, swimming and camping.

The Portland District uses forecasts from the National Weather Service to guide our decision-making for the reservoir conservation plans, said Petersen.

The refill season generally begins in February and ends in May.  More information about water management can be found at

Rick Hargrave

Release no. 18-022