By James LoweDecember 11, 2019
For the first time since February 6, 2019, the water level Tuttle Creek Lake is approaching conservation - or normal - pool. This has been the longest water storage event ever at the lake lasting about 275 days. The lake level is currently at elevation 1075.04 feet above mean sea level, only 0.04 feet from reaching conservation pool, which will occur December 10, 2019.
Tuttle Creek will continue to be drawn down to a winter pool elevation about 3 feet below the conservation pool, in accord with the annual water management plan.
In this record year of flooding, this news is welcome. The releases the Corps needed to make to bring the level down can cause problems for people and property downstream, so authorities are very careful about setting release levels when the situation allows for that.
"We're delighted in getting the lake back down to normal winter level, hopefully within the next week. But understand there are still areas downstream experiencing high water and we remain poised to reduce our releases, depending on weather conditions, to ensure flood damages continue to be minimized," said Brian McNulty, Operations Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tuttle Creek Lake.
Tuttle Creek Lake experienced the second highest pool ever on May 31, 2019 at elevation 1135.84 msl, +60.84 feet above conservation pool and just 2 inches below the top of the spillway gates.
At peak pool, the lake held over seven times the amount of water and nearly quadrupled in size, compared to conservation pool levels. Tuttle Creek was the largest lake in the state of Kansas for most of 2019.
"Tuttle Creek was designed for events like this and beyond. The lake and dam performed as designed and maintained full operability throughout the event. We remain ready and prepared to provide ongoing flood risk management for the Lower Kansas and Missouri Rivers," said Melissa Bean, Park Manager at Tuttle Creek Lake.
The peak outflow during flood operations was 30,000 cubic feet per second - through the stilling basin - locally known as the "tubes". This set a new record for releases thru the basin. The record-breaking release occurred from May 31 through June 7, 2019.
"We recognize and appreciate the collaboration and support of the many local, state, and federal agencies and organizations involved, and the public's attentiveness throughout this extended event," said McNulty.
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 in the Heartland providing leadership, technical excellence, and innovative solutions to the nation's most complex problems.