Corps blocking access to Blue River mud flats
BLUE RIVER: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to install a gate across the Saddle Dam Boat Launch at Blue River Reservoir. Installation work will close the launch ramp from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, from September 4th to 6th. In addition, the gate will be closed annually from October 15th to March 1st, when low water levels make the ramp unusable by most boats.
The Corps, which operates Blue River Dam and Reservoir, is installing the gate to prevent vehicles from accessing the lakebed when the reservoir’s water levels are lowered during flood management season, according to Corps Public Affairs specialist Scott Clemans. “Vehicles are not permitted anywhere in the lakebed because they can cause erosion, disturb wildlife, damage vegetation, destroy cultural resources and degrade water quality,” he said.
The Blue River Dam was completed in 1969 at a cost of $32 million. The 270 foot high rockfill structure creates a lake with a surface area of 940 acres.
This Saddle Dam Boat Launch is located on an old access road the Corps of Engineers utilized when building the Blue River and Saddle Dams. Currently, it is used by boaters when the lake is high to launch boats.
The U.S. Forest Service manages Saddle Dam Boat Launch for the Corps. Clemans said the two agencies are working cooperatively to find solutions to resource management problems caused by off-road vehicle use in the lakebed. Large trees and snags around the lake provide roosts for osprey. Several rare species can be found at the project, including bull trout, Chinook salmon and western pond turtles.