AHSAHKA, Idaho – Dworshak Reservoir will be within 5 feet of full pool on Friday, July 1, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water managers announced today.
An unusually high snowpack throughout the Clearwater sub-Basin challenged water managers to balance the need to maintain space in the reservoir for anticipated flood-level water inflows with the desire to have the reservoir close to full pool (1,600 feet in elevation) in time for the July 4 holiday weekend, said Steve Hall, reservoir manager for the Corps’ Walla Walla District.
Hall and other Corps water experts conducted an observation flight on Tuesday to visually confirm how much snow-covered area remained in the basin, and came back with good news for Dworshak holiday visitors: only about 10 percent of the area was still covered by snow – considerably less than the 30 percent previously reported by remote sensing and modeling.
“That means there will be less water inflows from melting snow than what the remote reports were telling us, and we could fill the reservoir for recreation purposes earlier than anticipated,” said Hall. “We’ll be at right about 1 foot from full pool on July 5, and anticipate reaching full pool by July 10.”
Hall said Corps water managers plan to maintain full pool at Dworshak Reservoir for about one week, subject to downstream needs to maintain healthy river temperatures for outmigrating ESA-listed fish species. Thursday morning, June 30, water temperatures at Lower Granite Lock and Dam on the Snake River were at 58 degrees – 10 degrees cooler than the maximum temperature considered healthy for fish.
Dworshak Dam and Reservoir offers a variety of outdoor summer fun opportunities during the July 4 holiday – boating, camping water sports, swimming, fishing, hiking and more.
All campgrounds and boat ramps are open for use, said Paul Pence, Dworshak natural resources manager.
The Corps invites visitors to come use the recreation facilities at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir, but it's important to remember to leave some things behind, according to Corps park and recreation officials. Fireworks of any kind are prohibited in all the Corps' parks and on its lands across the District. Restrictions aren't intended to limit visitors' ability to celebrate but rather to help all visitors have an incident-free occasion.
The Corps and law enforcement officials will be patrolling facilities through the holiday, according to Pence. Ultimately, Corps recreation officials hope visitors will recognize and appreciate that safety is everybody's responsibility.
In addition, the reserving of mini-camp sites along the Dworshak Reservoir shoreline is prohibited. Early placement of camping equipment at mini-camp sites in an attempt to save a spot for the July 4 holiday can result in the removal of the camping equipment or a citation if personal gear is left unattended for an extended period.
Please enjoy the reservoir safely this weekend, by taking the following precautions:
· Changing weather conditions can create unsafe situations on open water. Know the weather and have a float plan.
· Keep life jackets on children while on or around the water. Don’t let small children out of your sight.
· Check the serviceability of your boat.
· Ensure proper fitting, accessible and serviceable life vests are available for each occupant on your boat. Better yet, wear them.
· Before proceeding at higher speeds, familiarize yourself with the area you will be boating as there may be floating woody debris or rocks, stumps and shallow areas not visible from the surface.
· When boating on the reservoir, please use caution because lake levels can change quickly – anchor your boat in water deep enough to avoid beaching and leave enough slack in your anchorline to avoid sinking should lake levels fluctuate up or down.
· Campfires should be made using established fire rings only.
For more information regarding water levels, facilities access or recreation, call Dworshak Dam Visitor Center at 208-476-1255. Dworshak Dam Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.