The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is lowering Cougar Reservoir in order to do what it says is urgently needed repair work.
The Corps found large pieces of debris inside the temperature control tower that regulates the Cougar Reservoir dam. The debris affects the dam’s ability to generate hydropower. It could also impact spring salmon runs. Scott Clemans is a spokesman for the corps.
“The water that passes through the powerhouse is also very important for attracting spring chinook to a collection facility just downriver from the dam. If the powerhouse is not operating, fish swimming up the south fork McKenzie River will get confused about which way they need to go.”
Clemans says the drawdown will affect recreation because the water level will be below the two boat ramps in Cougar Reservoir. Clemans says the south fork McKenzie may look muddy but that water quality will still be good. The corps hopes to have the repairs done by April 1st.