Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Douglas PUD lowers Wells Reservoir to scour Methow sediment

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PATEROS – Buildup of sediment at the mouth of the Methow River drew special attention from the Public Utility District No.1 of Douglas County last week. On Sunday, May 14, the PUD began lowering the Wells Reservoir by eight feet from its normal operating level of 780 feet above sea level. Combined with runoff forecasts the swifter moving water will accelerate removal of the silt.

“In order to effectively remove sediment from the mouth of the Methow River, there needs to be sustained high flows which are forecasted to occur May 15-20,” said a PUD media release. “By lowering the Wells Reservoir, the rock jetties installed on the left bank of the Methow River will be exposed and channel the fast-moving water to scour out the accumulated sediment.”

The sediment removal will benefit recreation and improve navigation on the lower Methow.

At the same time the lower reservoir levels provide an ideal time for dock maintenance and repair of irrigation equipment that are exposed in the dry shoreline margins.

The PUD advised that Cassimer Bar trails and shoreline at the mouth of the Okanogan River are closed during the drawdown and will be patrolled to prevent illegal activities such as artifact collecting and off-road vehicle operation on the exposed shoreline.

The lower water level at Cassimer Bar stranded a number of Columbia River carp that swim up one of the channels spanned by a footbridge. Reservoir levels should have begiun rising after May 20.

PUD public information officer Meaghan Vibbert is available to address questions from the public at 509-881-2221.

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