WALLA WALLA, Wash. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Walla Walla District will begin diverting water from Mill Creek to Bennington Lake today, May 10, in preparation for the upcoming recreation season.
Water Management officials have been analyzing the basin and have determined the flood risk is now low enough for the current snowpack to support Bennington Lake’s refill. Filling the lake to recreational pool levels can take up to a week or more, depending upon springtime flow conditions in Mill Creek. Even with the lake filled to the recreation pool, 90% of the flood control space is still available if a late season high-flow event were to occur.
The Mill Creek Project and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife staff are coordinating a timeframe to stock Bennington Lake with fish before Memorial Day.
Recreation areas associated with Walla Walla District’s Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake, located just east of Walla Walla, Wash., include Bennington Lake, the Mill Creek Recreation Trail and Rooks Park. The lake and trail are open year-round. Rooks Park is seasonally open to vehicle traffic from April 1 through mid-October but accessible year-round to pedestrians.
The Walla Walla District invites the public to "play it safe" while having warm-weather fun. Although above-water temperatures are becoming warmer, springtime water temperatures can be cold enough to cause swimmers to develop hypothermia – a severe lowering of core body temperature. State boating, hunting, and fishing regulations apply to visitors at USACE sites. Hunting on USACE property is allowed in designated areas and seasons only. Boaters should ensure personal floatation devices are on board for each person. Children 12 and younger are required to wear personal floatation devices when in a boat. Only paddle-powered or non-combustible-engine-powered boats are allowed on Bennington Lake.
For more information, visit https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Mill-Creek-Dam-and-Bennington-Lake/ or visit www.facebook.com/millcreekdam to keep up with current news at Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake.
Release no. 23-033