Spokane, Washington - The Bureau of Reclamation is advising people camping along the Lake Roosevelt shoreline over the July 4 weekend to be aware of potential dangers that could exist due to rapidly rising lake levels. The lake is impounded by Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River about 90 miles west of Spokane, Washington.

“When camping along the shoreline, it is recommended that tents and other belongings be kept well away from the water’s edge,” said Lynne Brougher, public affairs officer. “Although the lake is a popular vacation spot, it is also a working reservoir that supplies water for the hydroelectric facilities at Grand Coulee Dam which can result in rapid fluctuations.”

Brougher says campsites that are too close to the water’s edge could potentially become flooded and boats that are not properly anchored or secured could drift out into the lake and becoming a safety hazard.

The lake is expected to be at 1288 feet on June 30. Lake levels may fluctuate from one-half to three-fourths of a foot daily until it reaches full pool elevation of 1290 feet on July 4.

“At these lake levels, minimal amounts of beach will be available around the lake,” said Brougher.

Lake Operational Information

  • Reclamation must adhere to the court ordered 2008/ 2010 FCRPS Biological Opinion requiring the lake o be at full pool between late June and early July.
  • Water is stored for later use in July and August to increase flows for migrating endangered species in the lower Columbia River.
  • Storing water to aid fish migration and lower power demands are two reasons that lead to higher water levels at Lake Roosevelt.
  • This year the peak of spring runoff is later than normal resulting in spilling excess water at Grand Coulee Dam as lake levels continue to rise.
  • Water managers must also prepare for unexpected weather changes that could change lake levels more rapidly than anticipated.