Portland District

Home > Media > News > Article

Bookmark and Share Email Print

Posted 5/3/2017

Release no. 17-009

Karim Delgado

PORTLAND, Ore. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is urging river users to take appropriate precautions as an elevated water release at William L. Jess Dam this week will result in higher water levels along the Rogue River.

A dramatic spike in high temperatures later this week coupled with potential for rain and the heavy snowpack in the Cascades will result in greatly increased snowmelt into the watershed upstream from Lost Creek Lake. An increased amount of water is being released from the reservoir through this week and is estimated to reach as much as about 5,500 cubic feet per second by Saturday. By comparison, the dam typically releases between 2,500 to 3,500 cubic feet per second May through June.

The Rogue River is anticipated to reach twice its normal height at Dodge Bridge compared to the same day last year. This may result in impacts to recreation and boating safety and potential loss of irrigation pumps or other property placed too close to rising river levels.

Dam managers proactively release increased amounts of water in anticipation of increased rain and snowmelt to maintain safe water levels behind the dams. The controlled release of water ultimately prevents the risk of dam overtopping and failure and also prevents damage to property along the river behind the embankment.

The William L. Jess Dam, which impounds Lost Creek Lake, is a 327-foot-high, rock-fill embankment structure with a gated spillway. It was originally completed in 1977 for flood control and fisheries enhancement. Together, the dam and reservoir support flood risk management, water quality improvement, irrigation, fish and wildlife enhancement, municipal and industrial water supply, hydropower and recreation.

The Corps’ multi-purpose Rogue River Basin Project consists of the William L. Jess and Applegate dams and accompanying reservoirs, as well as the Elk Creek project.

For more information about this week’s elevated water release or the Corps’ Rogue River Basin Project, please visit the project section of the Portland District website at www.nwp.usace.army.mil/rogue or contact the District Public Affairs Office at 503-808-4510.

elevation high pool water water levels water safety