OMAHA, Neb. - Heavy rains since September 10, have fallen largely downstream of the three Denver-area dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District.
The dams, referred to as the Tri-Lakes Projects are Chatfield, Cherry Creek, and Bear Creek Dams, are not experiencing any dam safety issues from the recent rains. Only small pool rises are expected for Cherry Creek and Chatfield Lakes.
Pool elevation data for these and other Corps-operated dams can be tracked online at http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/plots/plots.html#omaha_plots and are updated hourly.
Bear Creek Lake, located on Bear Creek Dam on the southwest edge of suburban Lakewood, Colo., has experienced increased inflows from the rainfall. The reservoir pool elevation is expected to approach its record elevation of 5587.1 feet, which occurred in 1995.
The spillway crest of Bear Creek Dam is 5667 feet. The flood control pool begins at 5558 feet and is currently 7 percent occupied. The Bear Creek Lake pool elevation can be tracked online at http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/plots/jpegs/becr.jpg and is updated hourly.
To allow downstream flooding to subside, releases from Bear Creek Dam will be held to zero through the weekend.
In accordance with standard protocols for dam safety with record pool levels, the Corps has begun 24-hour surveillance of the Bear Creek Dam and project infrastructure. The parks and roads surrounding Bear Creek have been closed to ensure the safety of workers and the public.
Also in the Denver area are the Kelly Road and Westerly Creek Dams. These dams were constructed by the Omaha District and turned over to a local sponsor. They are locally maintained and operated and fall within the Public Law 84-99 Inspection and Rehabilitation program. They are dry dams, designed to minimize downstream flooding. The Kelly Road Dam did experience flows over the primary and secondary spillways as a result of the recent heavy rains.
Omaha District emergency management and hydrologists are in contact with the State of Colorado and continue to monitor conditions across the state. Forecasts are subject to change as the weather and local conditions change.
Public safety is a priority and the public is urged to follow local emergency management officials for guidance regarding the flooding response.