A relentless rainy season has kept area lake officials struggling this spring to prevent downstream flooding while keeping lake elevations under control.
Frank Funk, project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Perry Lake, said the elevation had reached 17 feet above normal before officials started releasing water Tuesday into the Delaware River, which flows into the Kansas River and on into the Missouri.
"We're releasing heaps," he said. "Ten thousand cubic feet per second is our outflow. We've knocked off 2 feet since Tuesday."
The lake level Friday was 906.5 feet above sea level, 15 feet above the 891.5-foot conservation pool.
"It's just one round after another," Funk said. "It's pretty tough to get a boat in around here. There's only two ramps available for people to put their boats in the water. The bright spot is if we can continue with the 10,000 cfs, we will be down far enough by Memorial Day that most of the facilities will be available for use."
At Clinton Lake, officials this week have released 3,500 cfs, which they increased to 4,000 cfs Friday morning, said Vic Counts, project manager with the corps at Clinton. The lake level Friday was 885.66 feet above sea level, 10 feet higher than normal. If corps officials continue to release water at the current rate, Counts said, the lake level should return to normal within 14 days.
"Of course, it depends on the weather if it'll become reality or not," he said.
The corps monitors the Wakarusa and Kansas rivers day and night and will adjust the water release if faced with the threat of downstream flooding.
Counts said only two boat ramps at Clinton Lake are operational -- one at the state park and one in the corps area -- and water covers the Bloomington beach and parking lot. He's hoping the water will recede enough to open the Bloomington public use area during the Memorial Day weekend.