Malheur Basin begins flood risk management releases this week

Published Feb. 5, 2024

VALE, Ore. -- Warm Springs Reservoir and Bully Creek Reservoir will start releasing water for flood risk management starting later this week.

Due to a combination of above-average reservoir carryover from last year and above-average precipitation in the Malheur River Basin this winter, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that reservoir releases will be necessary this flood season to safely manage reservoir refill. Releases from Warm Springs, Agency Valley, and Bully Creek dams will be continually assessed based on basin conditions and may cause fluctuations in river flows downstream of the reservoirs.

Releases from the reservoirs and natural surrounding flow are expected to be in the range of 1,500 cubic feet per second near Vale, Oregon starting later this week.

A flow rate of approximately 3,800 cfs, or a river depth of 19.5 feet, at the Malheur River Below Nevada Dam near Vale, Oregon United States Geological Survey (USGS) gauge, is considered flood-stage level on the Malheur River. For more information on this gauge, visit

Officials advise the public to be aware of risks associated with flood season. Even below flood stage, the water is deep, cold and fast. Extreme caution should be used near the riverbanks.

As of Feb. 5, the Malheur River basin has received 118% of normal water year to date precipitation, and the snowpack in the basin is 114% of normal according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.   

USACE and the Bureau of Reclamation help manage three dams on the Malheur River as a system for flood risk management and irrigation storage needs – Warm Springs Dam, Agency Valley Dam (Beulah Reservoir), and Bully Creek Dam. Currently, Warm Springs Reservoir is 73% of capacity, Agency Valley Reservoir is 54% of capacity, and Bully Creek Reservoir is 65% of capacity. 

For current river flow and water storage information, visit


Release no. 24-004