Corps To Lower Downstream River Level To Assist Stilling Basin Rehabilitation at Tuttle Creek


MANHATTAN, Kan. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, announces temporary changes to water management operations at Tuttle Creek Lake resulting in lower downstream river elevation on the Big Blue River between Tuttle Creek and Rocky Ford dams.

Progress is being made on the Tuttle Creek Lake Stilling Basin Rehabilitation Project.  As part of this task, lake releases will be temporarily reduced and downstream river elevations between Tuttle Creek and Rocky Ford Dams will be dropped approximately 6 feet.  This operational change will begin on or about August 19, 2020 and last for 10 to 14 days.

The Stilling Basin Rehabilitation Project began in March 2018 and aims to accomplish three tasks: permanent repair of recurring sinkholes by replacing the drain system, stabilization of the walls by installing post-tension anchors, and replacement of deteriorated concrete around the basin walls. 

Work was suspended in May 2019 for 9 months to maintain operations during historic flooding.  Contractors have since completed the concrete replacement and installed a portion of the anchors.  Dropping the downstream river elevations will accommodate continued work on replacement of the drain system.

Looking ahead – upon completion of this water management operation, and weather permitting, the lake level will be allowed to slowly rise through the month of September to coincide with the annual fall rise to improve habitat for migrating waterfowl.  Target lake elevation will be in the range of 1079-1082 feet – 4 to 7 feet above conservation pool.

Plans are also in place to conduct the 5-year periodic dam safety inspection in mid-October.  Activities will be concurrent with the Stilling Basin Rehabilitation work and will not impact the schedule.  Dewatering of the stilling basin will once again lower the river levels.  More details will be provided as the inspection approaches.

The Kansas City District is a team of dedicated professionals with a strong heritage and proven results who, in collaboration with our partners, proudly serve the Heartland providing leadership, technical excellence, and innovative solutions to the nation’s most complex problems.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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