Detroit Lake has reached 'full' levels for the first time in two years

Posted on in category Positive News tagged Detroit Lake , Positive News , Snow Pack , Water , Weather

Detroit Lake has hit full capacity for the first time in two years. Discover more here.

DETROIT, Ore — It has been extremely challenging the last couple of years for residents of Detroit, Oregon. Wildfires destroyed the small town over Labor Day Weekend of 2020, and businesses who rely on the lake have been struggling because of low water levels the last two years.

The good news is that with the unofficial start to Memorial Day weekend just days away, Detroit Lake is the fullest it’s been in two years.

Lucas Lunski is the marina manager at Detroit Lake Marina. He’s been open for the last two weeks, and he said that they have been busy with people wanting to rent boats. Seeing the lake this full is a welcome sight to him, because the last two years have been cut short.

“Even in 2020, we got a late start because of COVID and we had to wait until almost June to get open, and then we were able to get to work to get set up … and then three months later everything burns down,” said Lunski.

Last year, the lake was only open for six weeks because of low water levels. Just two months ago, Lunski thought it was going to be a third summer in a row where he would be struggling to keep his business and his docks above water.

At one point early this spring, the lake was down to just a narrow creek that was three to four feet deep before all of the rain and snow started to fall, according to Lunski.

“It was pretty dry, and then come the later part of March and April the weather changed,” Lunski said, “and in the middle of April we were finally able to move docks and then there was 10 feet of snow and it rained for three weeks straight.”

All of that precipitation has now brought the lake up to what’s considered “full pool” — or where the lake is considered at capacity — at 1,563 feet above sea level. The Army Corps of Engineers keeps it five feet lower to reduce any pressure on the Detroit Dam, so right now the lake is holding at 1,558 feet heading into the holiday weekend.

Chris Gaylord, a spokesperson for Army Corps of Engineers, said they keep the lake lower to reduce any uncontrolled release at the dam, in case there were to be a large earthquake.

Lunski and other business owners in Detroit are hoping the season stretches all summer long this year.