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Boaters Beware: Water Levels Low In Most Lane County Reservoirs

Lane County Sheriff's Office

Warm weather is expected to beckon residents to the open water this holiday weekend. With that, Lane County Sheriff’s Office has some warnings for boaters. 

Water levels on many reservoirs are low right now and that increases the danger of running aground. 

Marine Patrol Deputy Eric Churchill says going into the weekend, officers have already been dispatched to assist vessels. This could be avoided if boaters merely checked water levels before launching.

For example, Fern Ridge Reservoir in Veneta is currently at 66% capacity. The deepest part is about 26 feet in the center. Popular Fall Creek Reservoir is at 63%. And Cottage Grove is just over half full.

Credit Army Corps of Engineers
Fern Ridge Reservoir is a popular boating site but it is currently at low water levels.
Credit Eugene Springfield Fire
Eugene Springfield Fire water rescue crews responded for a person in distress following a tubing incident on the McKenzie River in Springfield Saturday evening.  Initial reports were that 3 people had become trapped on a log (strainer) in the middle of the river behind RiverBend Hospital.  Arriving crews found one person still needing assistance and used Boat 5 staffed with a crew from the Gateway Station.

“As you go out this warm Memorial Day weekend, please remember to follow all posted warnings at boat ramps and recreational areas,” Churchill said.

During a boat rescue, Churchill said the number one priority is making sure people are safe. There is no guarantee vessels and other property will be able to be recovered. 

Credit Lane County
Blue River Reservoir is more than three quarters full. Most other Lane County lakes and reservoirs are at low-levels including Dorena Lake and Fall Creek. Marine Patrol says check the levels before you launch a boat.

Churchill added water safety should be on every boater’s mind. Always wear a life jacket and keep eyes on children at all times. Officials say drowning calls increase over Memorial Day weekend. 

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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