Tag Archives: Boat Launch

Lake Roosevelt water level rising with spring runoff

Overlooking Crescent Bay
Lake Roosevelt is low as shown here overlooking Crescent Bay, but some boat launches are open.

The spring runoff from melting snow in Canada is now coming down the Columbia River, and Lake Roosevelt is beginning to refill.

Following the long 2016-17 winter, Lake Roosevelt has been kept at a low water level in anticipation of the large mountain runoff to come.

Currently, with the water level at an elevation of about 1,243 feet above sea level, the target for May 31 is for the lake to be no higher than 1,262, according to the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation. The lake is completely full at 1,290 feet.

Flood control levels are determined by the Corps of Engineers, and are the major factor in water levels this time of year while the lake is operated as a large catch-basin to hold back snowmelt water that could otherwise cause flooding downstream.

The Colville Tribes had asked the Corps of Engineers to keep the water level above 1,232, the lowest operational level for the Gifford-Inchelium Ferry.

Although many boat launches on Lake Roosevelt are inoperable due to the low water levels, they are open at Spring Canyon, Keller Ferry, Seven Bays, Hunters Camp, and Kettle Falls. As the water rises, by the end of May, Crescent Bay, Hansen Harbor, Lincoln Mill, Fort Spokane, Gifford, Daisy, Bradbury Beach, and more boat launches should all be operational.

The Porcupine Bay launch is currently inaccessible because of a landslide earlier this year.

More information on current lake levels, and the minimum operable lake levels for many boat launches can be found at http://www.gcdvisitor.com/boat-launch-accessibility-on-lake-roosevelt/ 

Lake Roosevelt level is dropping

The flood control level needed for Lake Roosevelt is set in the blue triangles for 2015, compared to the 2014 history depicted by the pink dotted line. -- USBR graph
The flood control level needed for Lake Roosevelt is set in the blue triangles for 2015, compared to the 2014 history depicted by the pink dotted line. — USBR graph

The level of Lake Roosevelt has already dropped to to a level not predicted until March, in a forecast put out in mid-January, 2015.

On Friday, Jan. 30, the lake surface was at about 1,276 feet above sea level, which will put out of reach several boat launches on the lake, but certainly not all. (See the list below).
The deepest access is offered at the Spring Canyon launch near Grand Coulee.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates Grand Coulee Dam, which controls the lake, had published an estimate of the lake level drop this year showing a flood control schedule that would have still held the level at full pool until the end of February and eventually dropping to about 1,243 in April, not as far down as in 2014. But factors including weather and power demand can be hard to predict.

MINIMUM BOAT LAUNCH ELEVATIONS
Crescent Bay 1265′
Spring Canyon 1222′
Keller Ferry 1229′
Hansen Harbor 1253′
Jones Bay 1266′
Lincoln Mill 1245′
Hawk Creek 1281′
Seven Bays 1227′
Fort Spokane 1247′
Porcupine Bay 1243′
Hunters Camp 1230′
Gifford 1249′
Daisy 1265′
Bradbury Beach 1251′
Kettle Falls 1234′
Marcus Island 1281′
Evans 1280′
North Gorge 1280′
Snag Cove 1277′
French Rocks 1265′
Napoleon Bridge 1280′
China Bend 1277′