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Low water anticipated at Cougar and Fall Creek Reservoirs as USACE carries out injunction

Fall Creek low water
Wendy Jones
/
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Fall Creek Reservoirs water elevations were at 704 ft. elevation, December 21, 2021. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water managers will hold the reservoir to 700 ft. above sea level until mid-March and then refill and hold at 728 ft. through May. This may eliminate use of two boat ramps for use, Cascara and Winberry; however, North Shore may be available. Corps staff is unsure of how that will impact camping opportunities.

Boating and recreational activities at three sites in the Willamette Valley will be affected by Army Corps of Engineer operations this year.

Refilling of the Cougar and Fall Creek reservoirs will be delayed, while spill operations will be carried out at Foster Dam in the coming months. It’s to comply with an injunction handed down by a district court against the Corps of Engineers last year, to better protect Chinook salmon and steelhead.

FallCreekReservoirs02.JPG
Tom Conning
/
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Fall Creek Reservoirs water elevations were at 808 ft. elevation, May 5, 2021. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water managers will hold the reservoir to 700 ft. above sea level until mid-March and then refill and hold at 728 ft. through May (80 ft. below image shown). This may eliminate use of two boat ramps for use, Cascara and Winberry; however, North Shore may be available. Corps staff is unsure of how that will impact camping opportunities.

Tom Conning of the Corps’ Portland District said boaters are advised to be cautious and wear life jackets, or find other waterways.

“There’s probably still going to be some recreation available, but we want people to be aware that maybe Fall Creek and Cougar aren’t going to be great options," he told KLCC.

"Or if they are able to recreate, there might be some other hazards in the reservoir whether that’s stumps or just other things that people aren’t used to seeing because the water levels are lower.”

The actions are to improve water quality and passage for threatened species of salmonids. The Corps is required to give progress reports as they follow injunction measures.

The USACE release detailing operations at the three sites can be read here.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.