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Improvements to Clear Branch Dam Closes Laurance Lake Campground, Road 2840 & Fishing for the Summer

Due to upcoming maintenance and construction activities at Clear Branch dam this summer, the Forest Service has closed the Laurance Lake Reservoir and Kinnikinnick campground for the 2018 season. The area surrounding the reservoir will also be closed to dispersed camping.  Forest road 2840 will be closed from the gate above the settling pond to the Pinnacle Trail head.  While these closures may pose an inconvenience to our communities that enjoy recreating in this area, we ask for your understanding and patience while this important work takes place.

The Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID), which manages the dam and reservoir, needs to complete monitoring, maintenance and upgrades to ensure delivery of irrigation water to their patrons and meet dam safety requirements. The planned construction work has necessitated lower reservoir levels in Laurance Lake than have been witnessed in recent years. Currently, the MFID has initiated a 30 to 40-foot drawdown that will last through the summer construction season. This action is necessary to safely accomplish required maintenance to the secondary spillway and its drainage system on the downstream face of Clear Branch dam. The drawdown has the potential to impact water supply for the 2018 irrigation season; and will also impact visitor use and natural resources.

The drawdown will dramatically reduce the size of the lake and expose steep and rocky shoreline; posing a safety risk for lake users. We also anticipate that reed canary grass, an invasive species present at the west end of the lake, could spread to the newly exposed shoreline.

The draw down will also result in a much smaller pool of water for fish. This will put stress on the fish that live in the lake, including bull trout which are a listed species. Fishing can add stress to these fish, therefore the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODF&W) will not be stocking the reservoir, nor will there be an open fishery in Laurance Lake this year.

The repair of the secondary spillway will also result in significant rock hauling along Laurance Lake Road from below the spillway to the top of the dam.  Heavy equipment will be operating in and on the dam and spillway. In order to reduce exposure to potentially dangerous situations for both equipment operators and the visiting public, the road is closed to public motorized access.

The public is encouraged to explore fishing and camping opportunities at other developed campgrounds with fishing lakes on the Mt. Hood National Forest such as Lost Lake, Clear Lake, Rock Creek Reservoir, Timothy Lake, Harriet Lake and Trillium Lake.

For additional information and updates please visit the MFID website at: www.mfidp.com.  Questions and concerns may be directed to MFID via phone:  541-352-6468 or email:  mfid@mfidp.com.  The Hood River Ranger District contact is District Ranger Janeen Tervo at 541-352-1201 or email: jtervo@fs.fed.us

*Update 05/31/2018, please see the Closure Order for additional details.

exposed shoreline