Local dams are prepared for flooding

Lost Creek Lake, Ore., — “The risk of a dam failure here is very very small, but the consequence would be significant.” said Project Manager, Jim Buck.

The Lost Creek Dam helps control water flow into the Rogue River.

During flood season – the dam is only 69% full and has 60 feet of dry space as leeway at all times – so having to use the spill way is a last resort in case of flooding.

“If we were to have multiple storms come in one after the other, after the other, we wouldn’t have an opportunity for the inflow, the water coming into the reservoir to decrease.” ¬†said Buck.

The spill way hasn’t been used since January of 1997.

“We had a lot of warm weather, a lot of rain and a lot of lower elevation snow and all that moisture, all that water came off very quickly.” said Buck.

But that doesn’t mean the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers don’t maintain it.

“On an annual basis we have a cadre of engineers that come down and not only look at the spill way and all the machinery here, but also the dam itself to look at any issues.” said Buck.

It’s all part of the emergency plan in place for possible flooding.

The spill way gates are also opened on a regular basis.

But in case of unexpected problems, Buck has a message for those who live below a dam.

“You need to be prepared. So having a personal emergency preparedness plan, and primarily it’s getting to high ground quickly if there was a significant issue.”

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