News Releases

Low water levels near John Day Dam expected in early March

Published March 1, 2013

PORTLAND, ORE. – Water levels upstream of the John Day Dam are expected to be lower than normal between March 1 and March 8, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced.  The reservoir will be allowed to start drafting below 262.0 feet, the current minimum pool elevation, beginning on March 1 at noon. The John Day reservoir level should range between 260 feet and 261.5 feet on Sunday, March 3 and Monday March 4, and will vary between 260 feet and 264 feet from March 5 through March 8.   From March 8 until March 31 the reservoir will be allowed to operate between 262.5 feet and 266.5 feet.


The low water levels are planned to help with the placement of rip rap at the Port of Arlington.   The lower reservoir level will also facilitate environmental restoration work being completed downstream of McNary Lock and Dam.


This year’s Corps’ planned operating levels for the John Day reservoir are between 262 feet and 266.5 feet from October to April.  All water levels are measured at the dam, which means actual water levels may vary at specific points along the shore.  On April 10, 2013, the reservoir level will revert to its usual seasonal level between 262.5 feet and 264 feet.  From April to September water levels are kept lower to help juvenile fish migrating to the ocean but sufficiently high to allow irrigation pumping.

Diana Fredlund

Release no. 13-010