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Bear Creek and Cherry Creek Dams begin releasing water following storms

USACE Omaha District
Published May 15, 2023

The Bear Creek and Cherry Creek Dams, located near the greater Denver, Colo. area, began releasing water today at approximately 1 p.m. (MST) as part of a system operation plan to evacuate flood storage at the reservoirs which increased during the May 11-12 storms.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District operates the dams and will increase releases to 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Bear Creek Dam and 250 cfs from Cherry Creek Dam to begin evacuating stored flood water following lower downstream river stages. Chatfield Reservoir, which is the third dam in the Denver Tri-Lakes Project system, is storing this flood water to be used later in the year for water supply. These releases are coordinated with the State of Colorado Division of Water Resources and will continue to be adjusted based on reservoir and hydrologic conditions.

High flows were experienced along the South Platte River and the contributing tributary streams as a result of the storms. The dams captured a combined 23,300 acre-feet of flood water during this period. One acre-foot of water is equivalent to water covering one acre of land one foot deep. The combined storage capacity of the three reservoirs is nearly 314,000 acre-feet of water.

Bear Creek, Chatfield and Cherry Creek Reservoirs have risen about 23 feet, 6.3 feet, and 10 feet, respectively, due to the higher inflows.
Without the Tri-Lakes Projects, the estimated water levels would have been over two and half foot higher at the Denver stream gage on the South Platte River on May 12.

Pool elevation data for these and other USACE-operated dams are updated hourly and can be tracked online at: http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/plots/plots.html#omaha_plots.

Public safety is always a top priority of the USACE Omaha District. The public is urged to rely on local emergency management officials for guidance regarding flood response.

Release no. 23-015