Lake Mills lowered in dam-removal project

May 1, 2011 

Bureau of Reclamationmanagers will again lower the water level in Lake Mills in preparation for removing two dams on the Elwha River. The draw down will accelerate erosion along a pilot channel created last fall.

The drawdown began last week. Managers said they estimate the water level will drop approximately 1.5 feet each day until the reservoir is 6 feet below normal. This was expected to occur by the end of April, said a news release from Olympic National Park.

The Lake Mills boat launch will be unusable during the drawdown. The reservoir will be allowed to refill and is expected to be full no later than June 1.

Last fall, contractors finished an erosion-enhancement project at the Lake Mills delta. l.

Prior to last autumn’s work, alder trees had overgrown much of the delta and large logs had been deposited by the river, stabilizing the sediments that make up the delta. Removing the trees and establishing the pilot channel gave the river a “head-start” at eroding the delta. Lowering the reservoir will help maximize that ongoing erosion.

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