Tag Archives: Lake Level

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 level held down for maintenance on dam

The boat launch at Crescent Bay on Lake Roosevelt is currently high and dry, but Spring Canyon and up to 11 of 22 launches in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area still reach the water. Spring Canyon, the lowest reaching launch, goes down to elevation 1,222.
The boat launch at Crescent Bay on Lake Roosevelt is currently high and dry, but Spring Canyon and up to 11 of 22 launches in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area still reach the water. Spring Canyon, the lowest reaching launch, goes down to elevation 1,222.

Lake Roosevelt is being held at a level about 47 feet below the full mark while maintnenace is completed on the drum gates that hold the water back when the lake is full.

The Bureau of Reclamation, which operates Grand Coulee Dam, reports the lake will likely remain below 1,255 feet above sea level until May 10.

The water forecast for the Columbia River drainage above Grand Coulee Dam, from April to August this year, is estimated to 82.5 percent of normal, so the maximum level allowed for flood control right now would actually be 1,283.3 feet, less than 7 feet below spilling over.

But such flood control elevations are the maximum elevations allowed to ensure enough room in the lake for the spring runoff. Actual elevations may be lower “based on power demand, unforeseen power emergencies, changes in weather events, maintenance on the dam, etc,” the bureau explains on its website.

Lake Roosevelt hovers near full

The level of the lake is expected to remain in the 1287 – 1289 range for the next week (July 21 – 27), the Bureau of Reclamation says.This lake level forecast is only a prediction and can change due to weather events, power demand or other unforeseen power emergencies.Lake level forecasts are updated by 3 p.m. each day.  Please call 1-800-824-4916 for the updated forecast.

Level of Lake Roosevelt (feet above sea level)

To check on the lake’s current level, you can check here.