News Releases

Corps: River levels okay for fish, hard for boaters

Published July 16, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. – Managers and regulators of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs in the Rogue River Basin remind boaters that below average 2013 rainfall and snow melt have led to significantly lower river levels than last year.

“We’re continuing to release enough water to support salmon and steelhead lifecycles, as well as supply water for irrigation, municipal and industrial uses,” said Jim Buck, operations manager for the Corps’ Rogue River Basin Project, which manages William L. Jess (Lost Creek) and Applegate dams.  “And our reservoirs’ surface elevations are tracking with May forecasts, so all of our popular boat ramps should be useable through Labor Day weekend.”

However, very dry conditions the past few months mean not much water is entering the Rogue system from other sources.

“We’re currently seeing flows of about 1,400 cubic feet per second at the Grants Pass river gauge.  The average for this time of year is 2,200 to 2,300 cubic feet per second, and this time last year we saw about 2,800 cubic feet per second,” said Alan Donner, Rogue River Basin Project reservoir regulator.

The Rogue River’s current stage at Grants Pass is about 1.3 feet – about 0.7 to 0.8 feet below average.

“We’ve heard a couple rafters report that low water levels along the Rogue River are causing some difficulties,” Buck said.  “We encourage boaters to keep a sharp lookout for obstacles just below the water’s surface, and of course we always recommend wearing life jackets whenever on or near the water.”

The Corps plans to release 1,500 cubic feet per second from Jess Dam today through Aug. 10; 2,000 cfs Aug. 11 through Sept. 5; 1,500 cfs Sept. 6-10; 950 cfs Sept. 11-20; and 900 cfs Sept. 21 through Oct. 31.

The Corps plans to release 280 cfs from Applegate Dam today though July 31; 250 cfs Aug. 1 through Sept. 30; and 280 cfs Oct. 1-31.

William L. Jess and Applegate dams contribute to a water resource management system that provides flood damage reduction, fish and wildlife enhancement, irrigation, municipal and industrial water supply, power generation, water quality improvement and recreation on the Rogue and Applegate rivers.  For more information, visit

Scott Clemans

Release no. 13-041