Sam Rayburn Reservoir lake levels may be impacted by construction repairs; impacts to recreation are anticipated to be minimal

U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Fort Worth District
Published July 6, 2023

FORT WORTH, TexasOfficials today with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, at Sam Rayburn Reservoir announce potential of a controlled, managed drawdown from the conservation pool level of 164.4 feet mean sea level (msl) due to needed repairs on the dam.

The process to award a construction contract is ongoing with proposed performance period being approximately 12 months.  Any impacts to recreation during the construction period are anticipated to be minimal. The work being performed with the contract will be for the replacement of riprap and surface repairs on the east one-third upstream (lake side) of the 12,379 foot long and 120 foot high earthen rolled dam.  Drawdown elevation would be dependent on the finalized repair method and is expected to be near 158 feet msl. The controlled drawdown will most likely not be needed during the entire contract period, as it is only needed for surface repairs. This level is within the regular operating pool for Sam Rayburn, and nowhere near the pool level of 150.83 feet msl experienced in November of 2012.

Conservation or normal lake level at Sam Rayburn is 164.4 feet msl but levels do fluctuate as the lake is a flood risk management reservoir used to mitigate downstream flood damage, provide steady water supply, hydropower generation, public recreation opportunities, and environmental stewardship. Sam Rayburn held the pool of record on June 3, 2021, at 175.35 feet msl, less than one foot from going over the labyrinth spillway at elevation 176 feet msl which has not happened since deliberate impoundment began March 29, 1965.

The lake, dam and associated power plant and other infrastructure will continue to operate as intended and designed, but the construction work is necessary for maintenance of the dam structure and safe operations of the project. During the controlled drawdown there will be other necessary repairs to boat ramp surfaces at multiple USACE operated boat ramps. Sam Rayburn staff is also currently planning for dredging maintenance on northern USACE operated/maintained boat ramps.

Understanding and patience during the repair time are appreciated. For further questions or concerns, please contact the Sam Rayburn Lake staff at 409-384-5716, M-F from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Clay Church

Release no. 23-022