Federal officials are limiting access to several Willamette Basin reservoirs because of low water level potential hazards.

As a result of low precipitation this fall, the low water levels are exposing soft, muddy areas of lakebed, which could pose a danger to users using the reservoirs for recreational activities. 

“We put an advisory out today just for the public to be safe when visiting these recreation areas,” Army Corps spokesperson Lauren Bennett said Friday. “The areas we’re looking at include Detroit, Green Peter, Cottage Grove, Dorena, Fall Creek and Cougar reservoirs.” 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said ensuring public safety is a top priority and requests that reservoir users avoid these areas for their own safety.  

Cottage Grove’s Lakeside boat ramp will have limited access through Sunday and will close Monday. The closure will remain in effect until water levels return to normal.

“This fall has been an unusually dry one so our reservoirs have yet to really see any significant water coming into the system,” Bennett said. 

Many factors impact water levels in the Willamette Valley’s lakes and reservoirs throughout the summer and fall, including the legal protections for imperiled salmon and steelhead. That means keeping water flowing in rivers and streams instead of impounded in reservoirs behind dams.

The Willamette Basin holds 13 Corps-operated dams and reservoirs that work as a system to provide flood control, recreation and hydroelectricity.

For additional information or questions regarding water levels, call the Willamette Valley Project ranger staff at 541-942-5631.