Lost Creek level makes ramp at Stewart inaccessible

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is lowering the water level at Lost Creek Lake to levels that will make the Stewart State Park boat ramp inaccessible.

“The Stewart State Park boat ramp will be above the water level  and will be unusable until mid-January,” said Jim Buck, Rogue River Basin Project operations manager.  “Boaters will still be able to access Lost Creek Lake at the Takelma boat ramp while Stewart State Park is inaccessible.”

The Lost Creek Lake water elevation will be below the 1,812-foot level that is normal for winter operations.  Corps officials expect the water level to reach the goal elevation of 1,804 feet by Dec. 15.  “Reaching our goal water level is dependent on how much rain the basin receives in the next month,” Buck said. “The lower levels are needed to ensure the spillway gates will not be overstressed during the winter storage season.”

The Corps operates three spillway Tainter gates at the William L. Jess Dam, formerly Lost Creek Dam. Under an ongoing dam safety and infrastructure rehabilitation program, inspections of similar spillway gates identified overstressed gates and their electrical and mechanical components. The Corps has not seen evidence of overstressed gates at William L. Jess Dam, but they will proactively upgrade or replace components on the dam’s three gates over the next several years. Until this work is completed, the Corps will modify its operations at this dam to help ensure safe spillway gate operation during flood season.

While the Corps generally plans to operate the dam much the same as in any other flood season, this restriction means river flows downstream of the dam could be higher than normal for longer periods, depending on the amount and duration of rain events.

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