I have several water level-related updates to call attention to today. The first one comes from one of our power and irrigation districts:
Fall fishing at Keystone Diversion will not be available; NPPD plans maintenance work for the dam’s gates
Columbus, Neb. – Fishing activities near the Keystone Diversion at Lake Ogallala will not be available this fall as maintenance work on the gates of the Keystone Diversion Dam will be undertaken by Nebraska Public PowerDistrict (NPPD). Prep work for the maintenance project is expected to start soon so the boaters on Lake Ogallala need to be aware and take caution.
Water levels in Lake Ogallala will be lowered in September while a coffer dam is installed at the lake in front of NPPD’s canal diversion gates and the south river gates. The temporary dam will allow workers to undertake the maintenance task in dry conditions. Barriers will be installed around the diversion gates restricting public access for the duration of the project over the remainder of 2021. The area around the diversion dam will not be open for the safety of the public.
Once the coffer dam is installed and the maintenance work is underway, water levels on Lake Ogallala will be brought back up to near normal operating range. Also, the Keystone Canal between the Diversion Dam and Sutherland Reservoir will be dewatered for inspections and canal maintenance work.
On a related note, this news release just came out:
Boat docks to be temporarily removed at Lake Ogallala
LINCOLN, Neb. — Both boat docks at Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area will be removed Sept. 29 to make way for the Keystone Diversion Dam maintenance project.
Water levels at the lake are being lowered to accommodate Nebraska Public Power District’s installation of a coffer dam and to allow for maintenance work on the gates of the diversion dam.
Water levels are expected to remain too low to safety launch larger watercraft until late October when water levels will be brought back up slightly. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will evaluate lake levels at that time to determine whether it is safe for larger watercraft to launch; if so, the boat docks will be reinstalled.
Smaller, non-trailered watercraft, such as kayaks and paddleboats, may still launch throughout the duration of the project at the boat ramps on the lake bottom or at primitive access points around the reservoir. Game and Parks urges boaters to be extremely cautious while doing so.
For more information on NPPD’s project, visit the newsroom at nppd.com.
Meanwhile, back east:
Burchard Lake drawdown begins for riprap repairs
LINCOLN, Nebraska — Burchard Lake in southeast Nebraska is being drawn down for maintenance work to protect the integrity of the reservoir dam.
Riprap around the lake has degraded over time due to ice and erosion. A 2-foot drawdown started Sept. 15, and riprap will be added beginning Sept. 27.
Public access to the boat ramp and campground will remain open; however, access to the dam parking lot from the south will remain closed during construction.
This project is being funded by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Aquatic Habitat Program.