News Releases

Corps to provide update on drastically improved water year for Rogue Basin

Published June 7, 2022
Gray and white clouds loom over a calm lake surrounded by trees and hills on an overcast day.

Lost Creek Lake, the reservoir behind William L. Jess Dam, is currently 99% full, as of June 7. System-wide reservoir storage is just 3% below the rule curve. Year-to-date precipitation in the Rogue River Basin is 85% of normal.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Army water managers for the Rogue River Basin will hold a virtual information session June 8, 2-2:30 p.m., to provide an updated outlook on the summer conservation season for the basin. Unexpected late-season snowpack and recent rainfall have allowed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) officials to nearly refill the basin’s two reservoirs, Lost Creek and Applegate lakes.

The system is 97% full, as of June 7.

“Even toward the end of April, this was shaping up to be one of the worst water years on record for these reservoirs,” said Erik Petersen, Rogue River Basin operations project manager. “Low precipitation and a multi-year drought were facing us with some tough decisions and threatening to leave many users across the basin without the water they depend on. Today, our fortunes are much better, and we’re confident in our ability to satisfy every interest across this basin, from irrigation to fish migration to summertime recreation.

“We’re happy to report that everybody has plenty of water.”

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Water Resources Department—partner agencies that advise the Corps on water release needs for irrigation supply, and support to fish survival and migration, respectively—will join the Corps for the virtual information session. The public is invited to learn more about current operations, future forecasts, and potential impacts to the Rogue River Basin system.

Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2-2:30 p.m.


Call: 1-844-800-2712 (US) (Call-in toll-free number)

Access Code: 199 085 8582 #

The Corps encourages questions but asks participants to send questions using the chat function in WebEx during call.

The Rogue River Basin Project’s two reservoirs are currently 97% full. System-wide reservoir storage is 3% below the rule curve. Year-to-date precipitation across the Rogue was 85% of normal, as of June 7, with most of the rain falling earlier in the year and this month. The snowpack (snow water equivalent) right now is 134% of median for the Rogue. Snowmelt helps keep reservoir elevations up in the summer if it lasts and matches outflows, but it accounts for less of the system’s storage than rain does.

The Corps manages reservoir inflows based on a “rule curve,” which is the authorized maximum elevation on a given day to balance flood risk management and storage for other authorized purposes, such as hydropower and irrigation supply. The Corps keeps the Rogue Basin’s reservoirs lower in the winter to reduce downstream flooding and refills them in the spring to prepare for recreation and adequate flows for fish.

Portland District encourages the public to check its “teacup diagrams” before heading out to recreate. These diagrams show water elevations for Corps-managed reservoirs. Rogue River Basin teacup diagram: or

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Chris Gaylord

Release no. 22-040

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