Manhattan, Kan.— Tuttle Creek reservoir elevations have continued to rise this spring due to wet conditions across the Kansas and Missouri River basins. Currently Tuttle Creek flood pool is 88% occupied, leaving minimal space to store flood waters. Due to the limited flood storage available and possible reservoir releases, the River Pond and Rocky Ford Areas of Tuttle Creek State Park (TCSP) will be closed effective 8:00 p.m. Sunday, May 26, 2019.
Current projections indicate that the lake will rise to elevation 1133 feet overnight on Sunday, May 26, 2019 or early morning Monday, May 27, 2019. Significant precipitation remains possible throughout the basin. If flood storage at Tuttle Creek reservoir reaches 100% (elevation 1136 feet), any additional inflows into the reservoir will be released to ensure dam safety and create some flood storage. Additionally, Tuttle Creek project staff and dam safety engineers will begin continual inspection of the dam. Continual inspections occur during high reservoir pools to ensure dam safety. The dam is structurally sound and performing as designed.
At this time it is anticipated that the flood releases can be accomplished using the outlet works (locally known as the tubes). The current weather pattern is dynamic and in the event that flood storage is fully occupied and inflows exceed the capabilities of the outlet works the spillway gates will be opened. It is not anticipated at this time the spillway gates will be used but if releases are required that could result in out of bank flooding downstream, local emergency management officials will be notified immediately. Conditions necessitating a release and associated downstream flooding cannot be determined until the rainfall has occurred and more accurate release information can be defined.
Human life and safety are the priority in reservoir operations. These actions are precautionary and necessary to ensure public safety. The public should monitor National Weather Service forecasts and follow the direction of local authorities and emergency managers.
Traffic on the dam has increased dramatically and vehicles are asked to avoid the east end of the dam and minimize congestion as camping traffic is exiting the area.
If spillway releases are required, boats are not recommended on the lake. In addition, all boats will be prohibited within 7,500 feet of the dam on the lake proper. This is roughly a line straight across the lake from the marina to the west southwest.
The Kansas City District would like to remind the public to wear a life jacket while on or near the water. Be vigilant of the safety risks associated with high water such as floating debris or obstructions covered by high water which can create dangerous boating conditions. Expect the unexpected and be prepared. Do not drive or walk into flood waters on the road. Any time you come to a flooded road please turn around, don’t drown! Never enter standing or moving water to cross a road.
For more information, please contact the Public Affairs Office at (816) 389-3486.