WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Corps officials have announced that Rooks Park is open to general public access, but by walk-in only.
Visitors may park either at the Project Office located at 3211 Reservoir Rd or outside of Rooks Park on Rooks Park Rd and walk in. Visitors should keep in mind that U.S Army Corps of Engineers vehicles may be on trails. Some trails are still inundated and visitors should avoid areas underwater.
Please keep pets out of the water as there are unknown hazards below the surface. If there are any hazards found when visiting the area, please call 509-527-7160 and leave a message noting the issue and location.
Corps staff are on site monitoring the infrastructure and adjusting gates as needed and the flood management system is functioning as designed. Corps officials also will continue diverting flows of 100 cubic feet per second into Russell Creek since that is one of the primary means of lowering Bennington Lake.
It has been about 24 years to the day since the men and women of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District last engaged in a in a flood fight along the Mill Creek Channel in 1996.
Rains and warm weather led Corps officials to begin diverting flows from Mill Creek into Bennington Lake Thursday afternoon. As rains continued, the Corps increased flows through Mill Creek Channel from 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 3,900 cfs and then again to 4,032 cfs by Friday at 11 a.m.
During this time period, Bennington Lake went from being 15% full to 65% full.
Corps officials then began diverting 100 cfs of water into Russell Creek. By Friday afternoon, Bennington Lake filled to about 72%, with the Corps maintaining flows of 4,000 cfs through the Mill Creek channel through the city of Walla Walla.
By 7 p.m. on Friday, Bennington Lake had reached 80% capacity. At that point the Corps stopped diverting water into the lake and instead maintained a flow rate of 3,800 to 4,000 cfs through the Mill Creek Channel and 100 cfs through Russell Creek.
Flows began to decrease over the course of Friday night, and by Saturday morning they had dropped to around 2,000 cfs through the Mill Creek Channel. Bennington Lake levels also continued to drop, reaching 70% capacity by noon Saturday.