News Releases

Fern Ridge Reservoir water levels to decrease

Published Sept. 5, 2018
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will increase releases from Fern Ridge Reservoir beginning Monday. Outflows from the dam will gradually increase for the next three weeks. 

The Corps anticipates water levels in Fern Ridge will drop to 371 feet by September 10, 370.5 feet by September 17 and 369.5 feet by September 24. This will increase flows downstream by about half a foot each week at the Long Tom River gage at Monroe. In October, the Corps will continue to adjust flows to drawdown the reservoir for winter flood-season operations.

The release will augment flows on the Willamette River to help meet downstream flow requirements for threatened and endangered fish.

The Corps anticipates there will still be adequate water in Fern Ridge Reservoir to recreate; however, water users should be aware of potential water hazards due these changes. Boat ramp elevations are as follows: Orchard: 364 feet; Richardson: 365 feet; and Perkins: 368 feet.

Boaters who moor their watercraft on Fern Ridge Reservoir should remember to monitor changing water levels and conditions to ensure they have time to make arrangements to remove boats before launching ramps become unusable. Additionally, the Corps urges boaters who plan on using the reservoir into the fall and winter to take extra precautions as stumps begin to appear in greater numbers with the receding water levels. 

Irrigators along the Long Tom River should consider relocating water pumps that may be damaged by higher flows. These flows will increase from 60 to 800 cubic feet per second during the next three weeks.

The Willamette Valley consists of 13 Corps-operated dams and reservoirs that work as a system to provide flood risk management, recreation, water quality and supply, and more to the region. Many factors impact water levels in the Willamette Valley's lakes and reservoirs throughout the summer and fall, including Willamette Biological Opinion – which focuses on meeting target flows for fish downstream – but lack of inflows to those water bodies is another factor on which hydrologists base release decisions.

For additional information or questions regarding water levels at Fern Ridge, call the Willamette Valley Project ranger staff at 541-942-5631.
Tom Conning

Release no. 18-047

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