News Releases

USACE invites public to Willamette Valley reservoir levels info session

Portland District
Published May 23, 2024
Looking upstream at the Detroit Dam reservoir.

Looking upstream at the Detroit Dam reservoir.

Water managers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) invite the public to an online information session to learn about the summer forecast for the Willamette Valley System (WVS) of dams and reservoirs.

Beginning in mid-May, USACE maintains reservoir levels as high as possible to conserve water for recreation and other congressionally authorized purposes. After the rainfall dwindles in late-spring, snowmelt is the primary water source that helps maintain reservoir levels through the summer.

“Balancing flood risk management and reservoir refill for the conservation season in the Willamette Valley is challenging” said Salina Hart, the Portland District chief of the Reservoir Regulation and Water Quality Section. “Spring rains are essential for refilling reservoirs but are also a taxing time for flood risk management. Fortunately, our water managers successfully managed May storms, providing flood risk management for downstream communities and improving refill conditions in the system of reservoirs.”

As of May 23, the overall level for the 13 reservoirs in the WVS is 86% full.

Date:  May 30, 2024, 6 p.m.- 7:30 p.m.
Join online:
Join by phone: (844) 800-2712
Access Code: 199 939 8180

USACE encourages questions but asks participants to type their questions in the chat window or send an email to with their question by May 29.

The primary purpose of the WVS is flood risk management. Water managers must keep reservoir elevations low to maintain storage space, capture rainfall and minimize flooding potential through spring. This must be balanced with what seem to be conflicting purposes: refilling the reservoirs before summer for irrigation, hydropower generation, water quality improvement and recreation.

Water managers continue to operate under 2021 court-ordered injunction measures aimed at improving conditions for endangered fish species. The injunction measures include delayed refills at Cougar and Fall Creek and early fall drawdowns at Green Peter and Lookout Point.

USACE encourages the public to check the Willamette Valley reservoir levels before visiting a recreation location.

Kerry Solan

Release no. 24-007

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