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Water flows from Dworshak Dam will increase 5/18

In response to a request from regional fish managers, the Corps will increase water releases at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir starting May 19th to help ESA-listed outmigrating juvenile salmon in the lower Clearwater and lower Snake rivers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials announced today.

The maximum impact of these releases will be about three feet less of refill. Water flows from Dworshak Dam will increase to 10,000 cubic feet per second starting just after midnight on Wednesday morning, May 19, and will remain at 10,000 cubic feet per second until midnight on Friday evening, May 21. Please see the complete Corps news release for more information.

The Corps and NOAA-Fisheries will hold a public meeting at the Best Western hotel in Orofino on Tuesday, May 18, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to explain the need for this operation and answer questions.

Dont forget about - Big Eddy Boating and Water Safety Fair

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 22nd from 9 to 3pm for the 1st annual Big Eddy Boating and Water Safety Fair sponsored and hosted by the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office, US Army Corps of Engineers Dworshak Dam, Idaho Parks and Recreation, and other very generous local organizations. See below for more info.

Weather Spotter Training in Orofino April 14

The National Weather Service in Missoula is looking for volunteer severe weather spotters in Clearwater County. A severe weather spotter training session will be held Wednesday, April 14 at 7 p.m. at the Orofino High School, 300 Dunlap Road, Orofino. Boaters can appreciate the ability to look at the sky and have an idea of what the kind weather is headed their way.

Severe weather spotters volunteer their time to assist the National Weather Service to issue more timely and accurate warnings. During periods of inclement or severe weather, spotters will call the National Weather Service toll free number to report significant weather in or near their area.

Training material is given to all spotters to help understand meteorology and severe weather.  From time to time spotter training sessions are held to further train spotters.

If you are interested in becoming a severe weather spotter, please attend one of the training sessions or contact Trent Smith, Forecaster/Spotter Program Manager at 406-329-4840, or email

Big Eddy Boating and Water Safety Fair

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 22nd from 9 to 3pm for the 1st annual Big Eddy Boating and Water Safety Fair sponsored and hosted by the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office, US Army Corps of Engineers Dworshak Dam, Idaho Parks and Recreation, and other very generous local organizations. 

Activities include:

  • a PWC (personal water craft) simulator for kids to try-lots of fun!

  • a dive trailer and diving equipment on display—sponsored by the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office

  • all kinds of outdoor activities and water safety games for kids (with prizes!)
  • free boat safety inspections (a great opportunity to be sure we're
    all ready for a safe boating season!)

  • a free life jacket exchange for kids, in which they bring their clean, useable life jacket that they've outgrown to exchange for one that fits properly.  The exchanged life jacket must be a ski type in good shape, and not the Type 2 orange horse collar.

  • there will be food, in which all non-profit proceeds will help local animals

  • and...they are working on having music by local, young musicians!

So bring the family to Big Eddy on May 22nd (9 to 3pm)—there’s something for everyone at the 1st annual Boating and Water Safety Fair!

Dworshak Fill Unlikely

Only 2001 and 2005 had less snow than this year, the current snowpack is the third lowest since 1961. High elevation snow survey sites are well below normal and the low elevations and south facing slopes are already bare and dry.

The Clearwater basin as a whole has 55 percent of normal snow water content. The North Fork Clearwater River (Dworshak Reservoir inflow) is only forecast at half of average.

Dworshak Reservoir is currently 67 percent full, and although 103 percent of average because managers held some of the water anticipating the shortfall in run off, it is not expected to fill later this spring with the projected inflows at half of average.

(Editor note: On the bright side, I believe the best camp access is when the water is down 5 - 15 feet. When the lake is full the shoreline is difficult to negotiate, there is actually a useable beach shoreline you can secure your boat too when the water is down.)

Dworshak Dam Visitor Center hosting WSU raptor education program; additional film day for children; new summer season tour hours

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Dworshak Dam Visitor Center staff invites families and children to attend two days of educational programs and films at the center during April.

The first educational program takes place on Friday, April 16, 2010, at 1:00 p.m. on the visitor center plaza. The Washington State University Raptor Club will present a raptor conservation education program with various live raptor species, including falcons, owls, and hawks. Donna Bryant, Park Ranger at Dworshak, hopes that “families and children will learn how raptors play an important role in the forest ecosystem, and leave the program with an appreciation of these magnificent birds.”

A free film day for families and children takes place on Saturday, April 24, 2010, at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the visitor center. Back by popular demand, children’s wildlife films and water safety cartoons will once again be shown in the theater. Visitor center doors will open at 12:30 p.m. Seating at each film session is limited to the first 55 guests. All kids 16 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian throughout the films. The films being shown are:

- "Habitat and Niche"—a film that highlights wildlife interdependency within a habitat area
- "Wildlife Mechanics"—a film about kids who assist in research projects that help improve wildlife management
- “Bye Bye, Birdie”—an educational bird migration film
- “Bobber the Water Safety Dog”—a sequence of four water safety cartoons produced by the Corps of Engineers

Dworshak tours during the 2010 summer recreation season will take place Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Tour times are: Monday – Friday at 10:00 a.m., and weekends at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

To get to the Dworshak Dam Visitor Center, drive five miles west of Orofino, Idaho, on state Highway 7; turn right onto Viewpoint Road and follow visitor center signs for about two miles; the visitor center is adjacent to the north dam abutment, located at North Fork Clearwater River mile two on the north river bank. For more information regarding the education programs, facilities access, or recreation, call (208) 476-1255, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Parks Board to meet with Parks Department (2/23)

The DRA briefly met with the County Commissioners Monday, February 22 for an update on the Dworshak State Park closure situation.

The Recreation and Parks Board is meeting with the Department of Parks and Recreation this Thursday, February 25. The Commissioners indicated that the Park Board would be presenting a budget and plan to keep Dworshak State Park open. The Board has been working on a ways to keep the park open such as cooperative agreements with the county and other entities.

Worst case scenario here is the Parks Board has determined they don't have the budget to keep the park open and we are back where we started, so we are not out of trouble yet. But it is looking like they will keep the park open.

I understood the Clearwater County Sheriffs Department has agreed to assist in the adjustment of the marina docks as the water level changes. It was also suggested the DRA or others may be asked to work with the Sheriff and State to volunteer staff the marina to make fuel available at times at the Big Eddy Marina or assist the Sheriff with dock adjustment.

Winter Facilities

(I know this is a bit late in the season for this, but it is a good explanation as to the winter situation on Dworshak.)

Every winter on or around December first the Corps closes the main gate at Dent Acres, along with numerous other recreation facilities. The primary reason for Dent's winter closure is because they cannot ensure that the facilities are properly maintained for the safety of the public during the winter months. The water systems are shut down to prevent freezing and restrooms cannot be cleaned; roads are not plowed or maintained, so garbage pickup is suspended; and courtesy docks are pulled to the top of the rails to prevent damage from winter storms and water fluctuations. The Corps cannot predict when weather conditions will prevent our customers from accessing or being able to leave the campground on a week to week basis, and we choose not to pass that risk on to the public, our contractors or our staff.

Another reason is that the expenses required to keep the gate open from December to March could not be justified for the small amount of use the ramp might receive, versus the risk to the public and the facilities themselves. The Corps limited recreation budget would be better spent maintaining and improving those facilities during the time period when the public receives the greatest benefit. It is simply not economically feasible to
maintain normal operations at Dent during the winter months. The Corps normally re-opens the Dent boat ramp before the second week in March if road and weather conditions permit them to do so. The boat launch facilities at Big Eddy and Bruce's Eddy for public use during the winter months.

Grandad is never locked (no gate) - the only hindrance there is snow! 

Canyon Creek- the boat ramp is unusable at this water level.   The main campground is gated off but the two most popular campsites are still available (they are outside the gate) and the vault toilet is open.  You can drive right down if there isn't too much snow.

Recreation Facilities Chart

Parks Board Decides to Keep All Parks Open (2/4)

Email from Senator Gary Schroeder just confirmed that the Parks and Recreation Board has decided to keep all the parks open.

Senator Heinrich is also involved and sent this email:

"I have been talking with Park & Rec board members and yesterday a group of concerned citizens and elected officials met with the board and they did take action to take back Dworshak Park as one of theirs. Now we will have time to work out cooperative agreements with the county and other interested parties, such as yourself.  I was happy to be a small part in continuing the Parks operation as it is so vital to Clearwater County.  Thank you for your comments."

Parks Board Unanimously Vote to Reconsider Dworshak (2/4)

Everyone I talked to thought it was a long shot, but the parks and rec board seems to have seen the light. Makes me wonder what gets said to who behind closed doors. In my opinion, I think democracy
(a.k.a ..political pressure) is working here......

Here are some excerpts from the Idaho Statesman article:

"About 30 state and county officials and others from North Idaho attended Wednesday's meeting prepared to make their case to the board not to close Dworshak. They were pleasantly surprised
when the board announced it would reconsider."

"The board unanimously voted to reconsider its decision to close Dworshak Park in North Idaho."

"The board was under political pressure...."

See the full article here.

In my opinion, I think a lot of people talked and emailed our government leaders
about Clearwater County's situation.
The reservoir that covers the once wonderful North Fork of the Clearwater was promised to be a recreation destination April through September had now become difficult to use because of the
drawdowns. The once dominant timber industry dwindled because of environmental concerns. Unemployment is at record levels and along comes a decision by the Parks and Recreation
Board to close Dworshak, adding one more straw to the back of an economically suffering community. This did not make much sense.

Dworshak park was very close to being self supporting. With some cost savings efforts and possible fee increases, it could be self supporting. I do believe user fees will rise no matter who runs the park. In meetings this fall before the park closure, a few of us boaters worked with the state to agree on a fee increase at the marina. We agreed an increase of 10% was acceptable and warranted.

The Parks and Recreation folks are cutting 25 management jobs in the "paradigm shift" they are currently implementing. This obviously means they had way to much overhead consuming funds that should be getting back to the ground, supporting parks that the people who pay the taxes that create those funds can enjoy. This makes sense.

I urge you to continue (or start) to express your concerns to our goverment leaders that Dworshak Reservoir and it's Parks are something this community needs.

Our District reps are:

Senator  Leland  G.  Heinrich,  (R)
Representative  Ken  A.  Roberts,  (R)
Representative  Paul  E.  Shepherd,  (R)

You can search on and email them on these sites:

Senator  Gary  J.  Schroeder,  (R) is already going to bat for us from Latah County. Send him a thank you and express the concerns on the Dworshak Park closure. He prepared a bill that would dissolve the parks board and make the parks director a gubernatorial appointment.  Parks and Rec board Chairman Steve Klatt said, "He wanted to get our attention. Well, he certainly got my attention,".

Another excerpt from the Statesman article. Clearwater County can’t afford this... If you agree email a representative and tell them!

“shuttering Dworshak, would also be a hardship on the county because of the lost jobs and economic benefits of the park....... The park generates an estimated $2.5 million a year for the region's economy.”

I also suggest you contact our federal reps. Let them know what you think. They do listen.

You can just copy and paste the following into an email to any of them.  Edit it as you see fit but you need to send it or they do not know you are concerned.  P.S. Don't forget to thank Schroeder!

I am a concerned resident of Clearwater County and I believe we need Dworshak State park to remain open. The parks are a vital part of the local economy. I would appreciate any help you could provide in keeping the parks open and enhancing the recreation on Dworshak Reservoir.

Worst Case Scenario - Dworshak (2/4)

I met with the Corps of Engineers this past week and the worst case scenario is that the State decides to not open the park and the county decides it is too much of a task to take on. In that case, the local corps folks would collect moorage fees to allow boats to reside at the marina. They are exploring a card lock system for the fuel at the marina. That would be about all that would be offered. No camping at Freeman Creek or Three Meadows, no staffed marina sales. They have already taken over adjusting the docks as the water levels change. Just doing this much would mean some other maintenance will have to be reduced.

Local Corps Folks are not the Bad Guys (2/4)

The local Corps of Engineers employees are not the bad guys in this whole reservoir scenario.

They did not build the dam or pass the environmental laws that protect the fish the draw down is protecting. They are not closing the state park. They have done everything in their power (and sometimes a bit outside of that) to maintain and keep Dworshak facilities open. They have hard working crews that work with small budgets to keep things working. The local managers constantly try to get more funds from their leaders in Walla Walla and Washington to maintain and enhance Dworshak. They deserve our thanks.

Corps to host Invasive Species Training (2/4)

On Wednesday, March 10, 2010 Doug Mann will be at Dworshak Dam Visitor Center teaching Level 1 training to check for invasive species. Doug is a certified instructor thru the 100th Meridian, and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the United States Fish and Wild life service. He has taken the instructor course on Zebra & Quagga mussels. He has been contracted by the Idaho Dept. of Ag. He is also the South Idaho Conservation Director for the Idaho Bass Federation Nation. The training will start at 8 a.m. and continue most of the day.  I suggest you call the Corps of Engineers Office at 208-476-1255 or 208-476-1256 for more information.

Sheriff, Corps, State and others to host water safety fair (2/4)
There will be a collaboration by many, lead by the Clearwater County Sheriffs Office to host a water safety fair on the lake this spring. Details and times are still in the works but some of the planned activities are:

Boat safety  inspections (at Viewpoint overlook)
Invasive species inspections (at Viewpoint overlook)
Life jacket EXCHANGE for children
Kids' water safety activities/games
Kids' prizes and they promise

Dworshak State Park Discussions Continue (11/16)

The County Commissioners decided to approach the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation Board (IDPR) and request they consider working with the Clearwater County to keep the park open by subleasing the park to the county. The Commissioners are looking into the possibility of coordinating efforts between adjacent counties, cities and local organizations to operate under an IDPR sublease. The advantage being that the IDPR has the reservation system in place and already has the lease agreement in place with the Corps.

Commission Chair Don Ebert and Sheriff Chris Goetz met with the IDPR folks in Boise. Don Ebert indicated the IDPR was very receptive to the idea and is exploring the mechanics of such an agreement. He said the IDPR Board was “ecstatic” over a possible solution to keep the park open and is willing to work with the county.

The Dworshak Reservoir Association has been mentioned as one of the entities that may share in the operations of the marina. There are many players involved; a key to the success of any solution is the coordination of the myriad of groups interested in supporting the marina and park operation.
The county hopes to hear from the state next week on their discussion on the possibility of the proposed sublease. The results of that discussion will determine the counties next move.

The possible silver lining in the dark cloud of the possible park closure is that now that the county and possibly other interests could be involved in park management, more funds may become available to move forward with the marina wave attenuator project that came to a halt when the state pulled its contribution. The wave attenuator enhances the moorage at the marina by protecting the existing moorage from storms and increasing moorage for larger boats.

Dworshak State Park Discussions Continue
Clearwater County Commissioners Meeting , Monday, November 9

The meeting in the courthouse Monday afternoon attracted a number of community and government leaders. Looked like everyone the Clearwater County Commissioners invited attended. This was a good thing as a lot of the folks that needed to know what is going on were in attendance. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) briefed the group on how they arrived at the decision to close Dworshak State Park.  Nancy Merrill, IDPR Director, David Ricks, IDPR deputy director, who was interim director as this decision developed, David White, IDPR North Idaho Field Bureau Chief and a Steve Klatt, Chairman of the IDPR Board, represented the state.  Many of the employees from the park were also in attendance.

It was very good to see that most of the Idaho State legislature representatives were in attendance as well as representatives of U.S. Senator Mike Crapo and U.S. Representative Walt Minnick.
The Corps of Engineers representatives from the local office as well as Todd Czarnecki, Corps Real Estate Division Chief from Walla Walla Corps District headquarters were in attendance. The  Lewiston and Moscow Chambers of Commerce were represented as well as the City of Orofino and the Clearwater County Commissioners. There were enough other interested public attendees to over flow court room 2 into the hallways!

Ricks presented the timeline of a number of budget reductions that convinced them they had to do something as drastic as closing a park to preserve some of the other parks and their services.  He indicated it would not be right to have all the parks open with so few services they would not be able to function properly and would not be enjoyable to visit.

So they looked at all the parks and identified which ones they do not own. In that group they identified which ones had cost share agreements. The cost share they looked for was a written agreement with some other agency that insured that operating costs of the park are shared. They looked at park visitation, location and expenses versus revenue.

Dworshak Reservoir

They narrowed it down to Dworshak, Hellsgate and Lucky Peak. Dworshak was the hardest to manage because of its three individual sections and the drawdown. They decided to turn it back to the Corps.
The IDPR board member assured us numerous times that the decision to close Dworshak was not an easy thing to do and they realize it is going have a negative effect on a lot of people.   Department director Nancy Merrill repeated numerous times that this was a hard decision and that IDPR has done everything in their power to try and come to an agreement with the Corps on how to keep Dworshak open.  

The requirement in the state / corps agreement that mandates a twelve month notice of the abandonment of the park was discussed. This requirement which would give the Corps, the City of Orofino and the County time to find a resolution to this problem and keep the park open was apparently not going to be enforced, Czarnecki, Corps Real Estate Division Chief indicated they were already starting the transition / reclaim of the park and starting the process of looking for another entity to run the park. Corps representatives have said they will not hold IDPR to the 12 timeline, they see the writing on the wall that the state was going to turn the park back no matter what and a legal battle would not do anyone any good.

The comments from folks at the meeting indicated that they felt the state acted in haste, did not inform the Idaho state representatives of their proposed action and that they have not considered enough options to keep the park open.  The state representatives informed the IDPR representatives they felt the lack of communication with the state reps was an error in the IDPR procedures that led up to the announcement of the decision to close the park. The IDPR felt that they had considered enough options. The IDPR reps were asked directly by the Commissioners if they would reconsider the decision to close the park based on what they have heard in the last two meetings. The IDPR Board member indicated that to say they would reconsider their decision to close Dworshak would be misleading the commissioners. They made their decision and indicated they would stick to it.

In my opinion, it sounded to me that some of the higher powered state folks at the meeting may be asking the parks department to reconsider or come up with some other interim solutions.
Ideas and statements presented by the folks in attendance included:

-Why not look at leasing / outgranting a profitable park in a more populated area where it would be easier to find some private entity to run it and use the savings / profits to subsidize the less economical parks like Dworshak. That is squarely in the mission / mantra of Idaho Parks and Recreation: “To improve the quality of life in Idaho through outdoor recreation and resource stewardship.”

-IDPR had considered raising the Dworshak park entrance fee $1, but that would net about $6000, far short of the $145,000 they are short to keep the park open thru June. They also think that the problem will not go away in 2010 and that budget shortfall may be worse, forcing the closure of other parks as well as Dworshak.

-IDPR had not factored in raising the moorage rates at the marina as had been agreed upon in late September by a group of boaters that David White met with to discuss the marina moorage rates. (See other story below about that meeting.)

-IDPR had not factored in the negative effects that the park closure would have on the surrounding economies, if you save $145,000 and cause an economic detriment of $250,000 or far greater, that is a not in the best interest of the state. It was suggested that the state commerce and fiscal experts be asked to look into that matter.

-Orofino Mayor Ryan Smathers indicated that the local area can’t afford another economic hit like this and that the political repercussions of this closure cover a much larger area than just Orofino, as shown by the attendance of Lewiston and Moscow city leaders. In my opinion IDPR appeared to have considered that Clearwater County’s low population would be easiest to handle politically.

-IDPR indicated that Dworshak had no real cost share agreement. It was stated that there is not a formal budget share cost share for the park operations, but the local Corps maintains and repairs anything that costs over $5000 to fix, all the docks and anchors, provides very economical power from the dam, maintains the rest room, parking lots, ramps and roads, including snow plowing. The state gets all the revenues. The Corps current contribution of services to the operation of this park is substantial.

-The federal representatives are looking into and asking the Corps to see if there are any provisions for the Corps to get into more of an official substantial cost share with the state to aid in the management of this park. The federal reps indicated that the Army has a very complicated chain of command to go thru to get something like this considered and our current representatives are more concerned with health care and other budget items at this time.

-The overall feeling in the room from everyone in the room was they wanted and needed to keep the park open. The state said they had a budget problem and the closure / turn back of this park was their best solution. That is their decision to make and they had made it. IDPR leadership apologized and sympathized with the local folks for the hardships this decision will bring nuemrous times. In my opinion this repetition of the same apology and sympathy over and over resonated with the undertone that this was a done deal and that IDPR was not going to look very hard or at all at any other solutions. It was the nicest way they had to tell us they are done with Dworshak. In my opinion, that is exactly what they wanted us to hear. The problem now belongs to the Corps, Orofino, Clearwater County and surrounding area.

-It was also apparent that the group thought they should consider finding a way to keep the park open while the Corps and others look for other solutions. Hopefully the Idaho representatives will suggest the IDPR come up with some solution other than immediate closing of the park.

-IDPR felt that the leasing of the park to another entity was not their responsibility and that should be in the hands of the owners, i.e. the Corps.

-The overall tone on the room was friendly. All the representatives were thanked by our Commissioners for attending.  Everyone realized this is a tough situation brought on by tough economic times and were looking for a solution.

In my opinion, the state did realize that this is a tough decision with some substantial adverse effects, but they do not realize and did not take into account the full scope of the negative effects. The ramifications of this closure are far more than they realize or considered.  The IDPR should be asked to reconsider their actions, look further into the ramifications of closure, look at other solutions and for sure at least find some way to adjust time line of the closure. Delaying the IDPR abandonment would give the Corps and County more time to find a solution. Our state representatives should direct the IDPR to do so and the Corps of Engineers should work with IDPR to keep the park open.  

In my opinion, the state parks folks are using the budget shortfall as a good reason to unload a very difficult park to operate. I think that some of their managers have wanted to unload this park for years and this is the window of opportunity. The drawdown has substantially reduced the value of this park in the states eyes. The state is within its decisional powers to do so, but the ramifications and timeline need to be fully reconsidered.

In my opinion, our federal reps need to request the Department of the Army consider the local Corps of Engineers be given a budget to run the parks. The dam took the North Fork, the endangered fish are taking the reservoir water, the first state cut back took the marina improvements that would have help keep the marina viable, the wood products industry continues to reduce and unemployment is way above the national average. The closure of this park would be one more nail in the local economies coffin.

In my opinion, if the park does get leased to another concern you can be sure that many of the fees and rates will be increased substantially to make it a profitable business.  There may be a fee to launch a boat on Dworshak. Camp fees, moorage rates, fuel and entrance fees may rise. Although that is not easy to swallow, the alternative of a closed park is even harder to live with.

The only conclusion I could see at this meeting was that the procedure to terminate Dworshak State Park has now officially started. The Corps has acceped the fact that IDPR is not going to run the park and the Corps is going to look for someone else to run the park. Trouble is they may not have enough time.

In my opinion, we need to work together to find a workable solution. There seems to be a number of small pieces that could be part of a solution to this dilemma if they were all coordinated and implemented. Raise some fees, cut some costs, delay the closure, look for federal funds and/or find another operator. The IDPR should work with all the entities to keep this park open, reconsider the ramifications, find another solution to funding the park and /or use some interim measures to keep it open while other solutions are implemented. Just throwing the park back into the surprised Corps lap is not "improving the quality of life in Idaho through outdoor recreation and resource stewardship."

I appreciate the efforts of our County Commissioners and they deserve everyone’s thanks for the coordination role they have played so far in this ongoing event.

Read the IDPR news release on the meeting.

More details in the Clearwater Tribune article.

Future of Dworshak State Park 11/3/09

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is proposing to close Dworshak State Park. The department needs to find a way to operate on a reduced budget, a result of the slow economy, and closing Dworshak Park is one of their options.

There are three sections to the park. The main camping area at the mouth of Freeman Creek, the Three Meadows cabin area just up the hill from the camping and the marina at Big Eddy. These are all on federal land managed by the Corps of Engineers. The state leases all park sections from the Corps of Engineers.

There is a $145,000 budget shortfall for this fiscal year 2009. The states fiscal year ends in June. So that means they will run out of money to operate the park before the recreation season starts in the spring. Indications are things would not be any better budget wise for the next year 2010. The park board's proposal or solution to their budget shortfall is to close the park and terminate the lease with the Corps.

This Monday 11/2, the Clearwater County Commissioners, City of Orofino, Corps of Engineers, Orofino business people and a substantial group of concerned citizens met to discuss the matter and brainstorm how to proceed from here. Everyone in that group wanted the park to remain open.

Some observations and comments by the group:

-Statistics on the park's department web site show use has increased 35% over the last year. Seems the slow economy which is driving the closure of the park has folks recreating closer to home.

-The Sheriff's Department and CPTPA rely on the marina and fuel. There is a safety / access concern if the facility was not available.

-The parks department was asked for a detailed line item budget listing costs of the park operation. Are there ways to reduce operation costs? That detail has not yet been provided by the state.

-Some folks thought the Governor's budget cuts on state agencies is a move to trim the overhead in these agencies and consolidate the management of programs state wide. Cutting some government overhead and getting the money to the ground and the people may be a good thing.

-Some folks thought this was a move by the state to get the Corps of Engineers (Federal Government) to share more of the cost of operation of this park. The state already has most of the money making portions of the parks and the Corps does most of the costly large labor and repair work.

-The Corps does not currently have the budget to operate the facilities. Paul Pence indicated they would have to look for things to not do on the lake to shift funds to operate the park facilities and he could not say if that was even possible. The Corps would most likely look for some other entity to take over operation of the park. There are other Corps holdings in Idaho operated by private individuals / corporations.

-Soliciting for another operator would take considerable time. The lease agreement with the parks and recreation department requires the state to give the Corps 12 months notice that they would be terminating the lease. This would give all parties involved time to come up with some solutions. At this time the state does not seem to be putting much stock in that requirement. That 12 month notice requirement needs to be further addressed. It would give all parties concerned time to discuss solutions

-The Nez Perce Tribe who ran the marina in the past, has expressed some interest in the situation. They are also waiting on the detailed park budget figures from the state.

-The parks board facilitates the park closure by presenting that recommendation in the budget that they submit to the state legislature for approval. Their budget would not fund Dworshak State Park and probably make the recommendation to turn it back to the Corps of Engineers. The legislature can approve or disapprove the proposed budget.

-The closing of Dworshak State Park would have economic effects. First of all, park employees will be laid off. There will be domino effects on the local economy. When people visit the park they spend money on local businesses, such as restaurants, fuel, food and recreation equipment. (It was noted that the park has operated without a manager for a year and half and seems to be doing just fine. Maybe there are other managers we can do without?)

-Recent studies on Orofino's economy indicated that expanding the recreation facilities on Dworshak would be a great thing for Orofino's economy because there are users that would use those facilities. There are waiting lists to get boats moored on the lake and the park turns visitors away on occasion because it is full. There is a need to expand, not close facilities.

-Orofino lost a prime recreation area when Dworshak Dam flooded the North Fork of the Clearwater. They were told the reservoir created would provide similar recreation. Since then the fish recovery drawdown reduced the quality of that recreation.

-Environmental concerns have all but ended the woods products industry in the area, once the main economic / employment provider in the area. Now they want to end what little recreation draw we have left on the lake. Like the Lewiston Tribune editorial indicated, "how much more can Orofino afford to lose?"

-The City and County are going to meet with the State next week to continue the discussion on the proposed closure of Dworshak State Park. The parks board will be invited to the meeting so they can answer some questions on how they made their decision. Hopefully more discussion and more information will lead to some solution or at least identify what the next step is going to be....

Check out the Associated Press article on this park closure proposal in The Olympian.

As soon as more information becomes available it will be posted here.

DRA Thanks to Supporters 10/6

The DRA would like to offer a sincere thank you to the folks that donated to the DRA effort. Your financial and volunteer support continues to provide this venue for sharing information and helps us influence and enhance the management of the Dworshak Reservoir. We received donations from out of the area folks that came and enjoyed our wonderful lake as well as the normal local folks and businesses. Thank You!

Fall Sunset looking east from Fred Bay


Big Eddy Wave Attenuator

The Corps is still reviewing the attenuator plans. Appears the Heritage Resource folks have not completed their cultural values assessment. They are concerned with anchors that may cover or damage artifacts that are 200 feet under water and 20 feet under bottom silt? Also the state parks folks have decided late in the game to try and get the Corps to maintain or share the maintenance of the system. The Corps has stated from the very beginning they will not take over maintenance of the system. In good faith the Corps has now offered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cost reimbursable maintenance assistance.

The wave attenuator / additional moorage is really needed at the marina. The additional moorage would provide a place for more large boats or houseboats which are ideal for the lake as the water drops. The camps are unusable as they quickly become out of reach protected by a steep muddy shore. If you want recreation improvements including more moorage that will help the local economy I recommend you contact your state and federal representatives and ask them to give this this project a push. Hopefully they can ask the Walla Walla District Corps of Engineers and the Idaho State Parks folks to move this important project along.

Senator Crapo

Idaho Legislators


Dworshak Big Eddy Marina Boat Moorage Fees 10/6

The Idaho Parks and Recreation folks invited a number of boaters to a meeting on 9/23 at the Big Eddy marina to discuss moorage rates. Dropping budgets has the Parks and Rec board considering raising
park fees across the state and this includes the moorage rates at Big Eddy.

About 15 people were invited and 4 showed up.

The group reviewed existing moorage rates around the state. Dworshak had the lowest current rates.

The factors affecting moorage at Big Eddy discussed were the remoteness from a major population center, the fluctuating water level, limited amenities, separate boat required to access house boats (few have slips for this boat).

The group arrived at the following consensus.

-Need to pay an equitable amount based upon slip size (width X length) and not boat length. In the past a small boat taking up a full slip paid less than large boat taking up the same slip.

-Current rate is close to a reasonable amount, recommended suggesting to the Parks and Rec Board that they consider an increase 8-10% for 2010. (The group could see that a raise in rates was going to happen and wanted to recommend something within reason.)

-Future annual increments should be only 1-2%.

-Part of revenue should be kept in a fund to repair and upgrade marina facilities.

If you have any comment on this proposal please let me know and I will forward to the Parks and Rec folks. DRA Email

Water is 80 feet down, lower parking out at Big Eddy

Wave Attenuator / Big Boat Moorage 10/6

The engineering is completed on the wave attenuator. We have an excellent set of plans from matrix Engineering. The Corps approved the project and system for Big Eddy Marina. The attenuator would have protected the marina from weather damage and facilitated possibly enlarging the marina. It would have also provided moorage for larger boats, starting with moving the houseboats off of the failing buoys.

The next step was for the Idaho State Parks and Rec Department to request bids on the construction of the system.

Unfortunately the Idaho State budget has dwindled as the current economic situation lingers. A state wide review of the budget indicated a need to cut the Parks and Rec Budget by 7.5%. We were told earlier that a 4% of over cut would mean this project would not move forward at this time. Clearwater Economic Development folks did meet with the Governor to discuss the project. He was aware of the project but the budget situation would be the deciding factor. It is unfortunate for Dworshak and Orofino that this project is stalled but it makes sense to not start a new project as the budget shrinks. They did not want to cut other essential services or personnel to fund this project.

We do have the plans and approval to go forward. Hopefully down the road the economy recovery will bring the project back into consideration.

Lake Pump Outs 10/6 (UPDATE 10/9)

The fall weather approaches freezing temps. The Corps has announced that they will shut down the
pump outs on Tuesday, October 13th. Last year the weather cooled faster than they anticipated and they shut them down before the planned date. If you need to pump your boat I suggest you get there as soon as possible. THE CORPS WINTERIZED THE PUMP OUTS THURSDAY DUE TO THE COLD FRONT TAKING US TO 22 DEGREES TONIGHT AND THRU THE WEEKEND. They did say if you have a dire need to pump out, contact them and they will activate the pump.


DRA Web Site 10/6

The DRA web site has been approached by an advertising agency to place an ad on the site for a yearly fee. The proposal stated that our site:

"would be a good match for our client, whose target demographic is similar to your own. We're working on their behalf to acquire advertising from quality websites such as your own."

We were quite pleaseed with the praise and proposal but are concerned over the possible content of the advertisng and the payment offered. The DRA Board is looking further into the proposal.

Bruce's Eddy ramp at low water, a few brave fisherman

Salmon Educational Program at Dent Campground 8/20

The Dworshak Natural Resources Management staff invites visitors to learn about salmon migration during a campground interpretive program at the Dent Acres campground group sun shelter at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5.

Marina Wave Attenuator and Large Boat Docking 8/20

The project slowly moves forward. A meeting this Wednesday of the advisory committee discovered some minor typos in the final package. The Corps final approval is supposedly in the mail. One possible hang up is the State is now negotiating with Corps to get them to take over maintenance of the system. The Corps has offered to assist in the maintenance if they are reimbursed for wages and equipment which they have offered to the state at a reasonable rate. I am concerned this may be a critical wrench in the works. The Corps has maintained since the get go that they would not be able to assume the costs of maintenance, the State is the one changing their position as their budgets diminished.

I suggest there should not be any maintenance on the new system for a while barring an emergency situation caused by weather. Why not set up an account that some of the moorage funds go into to accrue to be used as marina / attenuator maintenance. This should have been done all along for the last 10 years. It appears to me that most of the funds collected at the marina have gone directly to Freeman Cr Campground part of Dworshak State Park and very little to the marina.

The Clearwater County economy could really use a boost and larger boat facilities on Dworshak would do just that.

If the State and Corps come to agreement on the maintenance situation, the next step is for the state to put the project out for bid. Keep your fingers crossed or better yet, let Butch Otter know that you support this project. Maybe he can get the state parks moving along.

Lake Foam - Corps Provided Information 8/18

The lake foam that you observed is a result of a combination of factors. The first is that during this time of year there is greater primary production occurring, this results in increased oxygen and other gasses in the upper water column. With the increased production there is also an increase in
decaying organic matter, i.e. dying phytoplankton, that results in a reduction of the surface tension of the water. Once you add wind to the equation the situation is right for the production of lake foam. Lake foam is a naturally occurring phenomenon that can be impacted by increasing the
productivity of the lake. The wind stirs up the water adding even more gasses to the upper water column. Since the surface tension is lower the water and air mix into bubbles. This is the same thing that soap does and why it foams, it reduces the surface water tension allowing the formation of
bubbles. Once the bubbles are formed, usually in long parallel lines, they can continue for a while and a gentle breeze can concentrate them into the islands of foam you observed. This can be disconcerting for the public but it is not a hazard other than an aesthetic one. In a few days time, or even with a shift in the wind patterns the foam will disperse.

Based on what we have been seeing in the chlorophyll a and in the phytoplankton samples the reservoir is slightly more productive this year than in past years. This observation and with the right wind conditions is likely the cause of the foam islands you are observing.

Darren Brandt, Aquatic Ecologist

News 8/17

Bass Fishing

Bass tournament this past weekend. Looks like these folks know what they are doing, largest weighed in at just over 6 lbs.

Bass Tourney

Bass Tourney

Bass Tourney

Dent Amenities Improved

There are now horseshoes available at Dent Acres! For a $20 deposit (cash or check only, with identification), people can use the horseshoes, then return them to get their money back.

Water Level and Temp

Water level continues to drop, as of 8/16 it is at 1552 which is 48 feet down. The cool temps and rain this past week dropped the water temp to 78, but it should warm quickly this week.

Dent Acres docks will be on the lower rail dock unit by Monday 8/17 afternoon.

Hobo Feast on Wednesday Night Dockluck

Weather was comfortably cool with some clouds. Limited turn out could have been blamed on the weather or you might want to consider what hobos feast on? Actually all the food was quite excellent as usual. This home baked in the can bread was delicious. Check out a few more photos.

Hobo Feast
Do hobos bake bread in a can?

Canyon Creek and Bruce's Eddy #2 ramps are now closed due to low water levels. 8/9/09

As of Aug 9 the water is at 1558 which is 42 feet below fool pool. Temps have dropped a few degrees back to 80.

Fred's Bay Safe Harbor Dock 8/1/09

Our thanks to the Dworshak maintenance crew for the repair and placing of the Fred's Bay dock. Recreation facilities are limited on the lake as the water drops and the dock is appreciated. This dock is one of the Safe Harbor docks around the lake that were obtained a number of years ago by the DRA working with the Corps of Engineers in securing a Big Boat Grant.

Reservoir Update 7/30/09

Water Level and Temps

The reservoir is dropping about a foot per day. As of July 30th, 2009, the water level is at 1575 feet mean sea level. That is about 25 feet below full pool. Water temp is around 83 degrees.

Bruces Eddy Gas Thieves

Last week on two separate occasions some one stole gasoline from a truck parked over night at Bruce's Eddy parking lot. The incidents have been reported to the Sheriff.

Mexican Dock Luck

Wednesday nights gathering was the best food of the year so far. mexican night usually is a great one.
Tamale pie, enchiladas, burritos, salads and desserts. The margarita machine was an extra added attraction! Check out the photos!

Reservoir Update 7/25/09

Water Level and Temps

The reservoir is dropping about a foot per day. As of July 25th, 2009, the water level is at 1579.77 feet mean sea level. That is about 20 feet below full pool. Water temp is around 80 degrees.

Video on Invasive Species in Idaho

Check out a short video on the invasive species inspection program and the damage these species can cause.

Christmas in July Dock Luck

There were two turkeys and a ham and all the fixins with loads of dessert. We had 37 folks in the gift exchange. Weather was excellent! Check out a few photos. This Wednesday is Mexican night, bring some food and join in the fun!

Boat Load of Managers

This past week a number of managers from the Walla Walla Corps Office toured the lake. I felt sorry for them in their heavy boots and full long sleeve military Khakis and life jackets as it was going to be over 100 degrees that day. I do not know what their 'mission' was on the lake.

Mysterious Water Release

Last week water was being released thru the spillway. I asked two local Corps folks what was going on and neither one could explain it. One suggested it was for the fish. One indicated they did not understand why they would do that This water was not generating power at Dworshak but could be used for power at the 6 dams down river. Curious? This type of release can cause harm to fish by raising gas levels in the water. You think they would have some explanation as to what was going on.

Dent Accident

As excitedly related to me by a park ranger... .Last weekend some "excitement" at Dent. A pickup truck with extra gas cans and the owner sleeping on the attached pontoon boat rolled down the hill and hit the main Dent power transformer taking out power and showering sparks. No one was injured and the quick maintenance folks had the repairs completed promptly. Those guys are good.... now please put the Fred's Bay dock back in place its been missing now for a year and a half. Please...

Aqua-Leisure Industries Recalls Inflatable Baby Floats Due to Drowning Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed, (More)

Corps Update 7/25/09 (As provided by the Corps)

Flint Knapping Demonstration at Dworshak Dam Visitor Center

On August 8, 2009, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm a free cultural program will take place on the Dworshak Dam Visitor Center plaza, located just outside the visitor center. Mike Tylznski will demonstrate the Native American ancient art of flint knapping by creating historically accurate stone knives, tools, and blades. Flint knapping is the 4-million old process of making stone
tools, such as arrowheads, projectile points, and hand axes.

Tylznski describes the technique as a "process of reduction because flakes of stone are broken off the original piece," a piece he mentally "visualizes" within the stone matrix. First he works towards removing large flakes from the stone by using direct percussion with a hammerstone, or a traditional
antler billet. Then he removes smaller flakes by applying inward pressure on the edge of the stone with an antler tine, or copper-tipped pressure flaker. During the presentation Tylznski answers audience questions, and explains the use of various traditional Native American tools.

Dworshak Dam Visitor Center activities are free, photos are welcome, and all ages are invited. Visitors are advised to bring a hat, water, sunscreen, and lawn chair for comfortable sitting. For more information call (208) 476-1255, or stop by the Dworshak Dam Visitor Center, open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Why Do They Drop the Water Level

Many folks ask why the Dworshak Reservoir is lowered this time of year here's a link to the Corps' of Engineers site that explains the flow augmentation for migrating juvenile salmon in accordance with the National Marine Fisheries Service Biological Opinion:

Dent Acres Improvements

-Work on the long-awaited Dent Acres courtesy dock is almost done.
Launching at the other dock is allowed, but there might be a short waiting
time for equipment movement to and fro. The new dock is funded by a grant
from Idaho Parks and Recreation, and matching Corps of Engineers monies.

-The 2 horseshoe pits at Dent Acres (near the playground equipment) is a
work-in-progress. Both will be completed once we get wooden backdrops
installed. People will need to bring their own horseshoes!

-During the last two weekends, Granddad and Dent Acres campgrounds have been
full, and there were many happy boaters on the water. However, a Dworshak
Ranger did find a BBQ'er on a recreation dock. Even with all the press
releases and signage, we still need the public to be aware!

Fishing Improving?

Here is a quote from a Corps' Ranger "Pssst--here's a secret! With my own eyes I saw more than 20 decent (by "decent" I mean pan-size) Kokanee caught near Dent bridge. Yahoo--the fish
are biting!"

Reservoir Update 7/16/09

Pirate Night and Down on the Farm Dock Luck

We have had two Wednesday night Dock Lucks since I updated the site. First Pirate Night, generally a favorite but only a few of us got into character. As you will see in the gallery my grand daughter and I had some fun. Food was great as usual. Then along came Down on the Farm night. Best turnout of the year! Very hot and calm. We had a marvelous Duck Race. prizes were given and all entry fees went to the DRA bank account. Thank you everyone for the donation total of $44, I was only able to deposit $42 since they would not take Bill's Eye-Oh-YOU! Check out the photos!


Indian Creek Dock Goes for a Cruise

The anchors slipped on the Indian Creek Dock this week but the Corps maintenance folks were right on it. It is slightly relocated but back on anchor.

Dent Courtesy Dock

The Corps is working with the state installing the new dock obtained by grant moneys at Dent. This is a dock with fingers and slips for use by campers spending time at the state park.

Fred's Bay Dock Ready to Return

As soon as the barge returns from the upper reservoir fertilization nutrient supplement program this dock will be placed in its old location in Fred's Bay. The Corps maintenance crew completed repairs on the dock. It will be a welcome return to the marina end of the lake. Many thanks to the maintenance crew that does a great job keeping lakes facilities operational.

Big Eddy Wave Attenuator

Final approvals from Walla Walla, (Sec 10 regulatory permit and cultural resources), should be this week - the local Corps Admin folks do not anticipate that being a hang up.

Idaho Parks and Recreation has requested a meeting with the Corps to discuss future maintenance
of the attenuator. The local Corps folks think the State wants the Corps to do all the complicated maintenance like they do on the marina and destination docks - this could be a show stopper. The Corps does not have funding or work force to take that responsibility.. Hopefully both parties can come to an understanding to get this project moving.

DRA Funding Reminder (One more time)

If you enjoy Dworshak and / or would like to help enhance the recreation on the lake, your donation to the non- profit Dworshak Reservoir Association (DRA) in any amount would be appreciated.  All funds will be used to enhance recreation on the lake or pay for this web site hosting. No one is making any money, all the actual work is volunteer donated. Some local businesses have donated substantial sums; and we thank you! Most folks choose the $5.00 (or a bit more) annual membership. The more members we have the more influence we have when we discuss reservoir management with the Corps. We are slowly growing. Donations can be made to the Dworshak Reservoir Association account at the American West Bank in Orofino (American West Bank, 100 Main St, Orofino, ID 83544) or mailed to the DRA at 12894 Hartford Ave, Orofino, Idaho, 83544. We would like to acknowledge your participation, however let us know if you wish to remain anonymous.

Houseboat Capitol of Idaho?

We could be. Dworshak is ideal for a house boat. The water drops on july 4th and camps become inaccessible but the miles of pristine water are still out there. I have talked to many people that would like to moor a large boat on Dworshak but unfortunately there is no where to moor a large boat. The Clearwater County Economic Development Coordinator, Chris St Germain has worked hard on implementing the wave attenuator and extra moorage. It has been problematic and frustrating. She has continued in the face of adversity and deserves praise for her efforts, but there is only so much she can facilitate. I urge you to contact your representatives and tell them of your interest in improving recreation on Dworshak. Ask them to let the parties involved know that they support improving Dworshak and possibly specifically this current marina project so it can get implemented.

A small rental fleet of houseboats would be an excellent addition to Orofino's economy. House boaters buy food. Rent extra boats and toys. Buy toys for the lake. The boats need maintenance and repair. Most folks come a day early before their trip and book a room. Maybe book after the trip also.

I also suggest you talk to the Dworshak State Park administrators and get on a waiting list to moor a large boat if you are interested and I suggest ask them for a copy of the list with your listing shown.

If you want recreation improvements including more moorage that will help the local economy I recommend you contact your state and federal representatives and ask them to give this this project a push. Hopefully they can ask the Walla Walla District Corps of Engineers and the Idaho State Parks folks to move this important project along. IF THEY HEAR FROM ENOUGH PEOPLE THEY DO LISTEN.

Senator Crapo

Idaho Legislators

Reservoir Update 7/6/09

Fourth of July

The lake was a busy place this holiday weekend. Blue skies and 100 degree air temps with the water temps hovering around 80. Freeman Creek / Dworshak State Park was extremely busy. Folks trying to launch were lined up from the pay station at the entrance all the way to the lake! The water level is dropping like a rock (already 3 feet down) so that will be the last of the crowds. The Fourth of July weekend is always the busiest of the year. New friends were made on the Merry's Bay Destination Dock. Folks from lewiston and Orofino and Missoula shared in the fun of tubing and swimming. A new twist was the relay race. There are more photos of the Fourth of July weekend here.

Wednesday Night Dock Luck - School Colors Night

There was some odd food at last Wednesdays School Colors night. There are more photos of the event if you wish to enjoy them. Hopefully the weather will let us do the best Dock Luck of them all this Wednesday, July 8.....


Blue Food
Blue Food? Pass the Rolaids.


Reservoir Update 6/30/09

Update Water Temps and Cell Phone Coverage

The water was up to 76 degrees this past weekend and climbing. The Fourth of July weekend looks hot and dry!

In cruising this past week I made a point to check the cell phone reception on my boat bag phone. I boat corrected. Things are better than I reported earlier. I had good coverage everywhere from the dam to Dent. That's is the best I have seen, maybe they improved things or it was just one of those good days? NOTE: I have a 12 volt bag phone with a fifteen foot antenna on top a 16 foot boat.

NOTE: The above is with Inland Cellular, I understand that Verizon has little to no coverage of the reservoir.

Full Pool
Full Pool

Corps Watch Program

The Corps is about to implement a Corps Watch program. You should soon see posters & signs displaying info about the program - it include rewards for information on vandalism - and good thing is the money comes from HQ not the local recreation budget.

Fish Nutrient Program

The once a week fertilization of the plankton / fish project appears to be working - it takes a few years to work
it's way up the food chain but the Kokanee are already bigger and heavier, they are also 12-13" long. That was the goal. They never expected monsters.

Reservoir Litter Bags

The small litter bags are temporary. There was a glitch in the ordering system and so the local Corps had to borrow
bags from another office. The large bags will return shortly!

Fred's Bay Safe Harbor Dock

Fred's bay dock is no longer attached to the fore bay booms - the maintenance folks, John
and Tom pulled it in to the maintenance shop. One float was damaged and full of water,
they removed it and are in the process of re-rigging the anchors - the Corps hoped to have
it back in place next week but a water system break at Dent became the priority.

Reservoir Update 6/25/09

Drift Creek Dock

The Corps surveyed the damage to the Drift Creek dock. The dock was damaged by most likely a hot BBQ grill placed on top of the steel anchor hanger on the edge of the dock. The dock heated up and melted causing the warp in the plastic and the steel hanger melted through the holder, releasing the anchor pulley.

The good news is that the dock is still anchored in place as the cable is attached through the counter weight pulley on the opposite side of the dock.

The bad news is the repair will be very difficult due to the warping of the surrounding plastic sections.
The Corps has decided to postpone the fix until after the holiday weekend just in case things don't go as planned and the fix creates more hazards or makes it unusable.

The Corps has posted damaged section closed and opened the remainder of the dock.

Rangers will be monitoring and replacing the signs and caution tape as needed until the dock is fixed.

Rangers will patrol regularly.

Maybe there should be a reward for information on the perpetrators. Four times now does not seem to be an accident to this editor.

Drift Creek dock damage and posting

Water Levels, Temps and Cell Phone Coverage

We received some great feed back from our viewers. It was requested that the water level and temperature be made available on our home page. There is a link on this webs link page to water info. For your current information the lake is full. Here is the link...........

Reservoir Water Levels

The water temp is hovering around 74 degrees according to my boat sensor, which is great for kids but a touch cool for this old grandpa yet.  I need about 3 more degrees! Folks enjoyed the water at yesterdays dock luck.


Dock Luck Wednesday at the Merry's Bay Dock

Cell Phone Coverage

Cell phone reception on a regular hand held is tough any where on the lake. Most of the lake has no reception and the few "good" spots are sporadic. The ones I have found are in Merry's Bay just behind the dam and at the mouth of Elk Cr. Many times your phone will ring because the tower has more power than your hand held. The handheld is lower power and can't get back to the tower. I have a 12 volt bag phone on a fifteen foot antenna and I can get out of the good spots really well.... but most of the lake is dead for me also. If you know of other spots please let me know. If there enough good spots we can post a map.

VHF radios work great for ship to ship.... really handy if you need the sheriff

Radio Information


A few of us were lucky to be properly positioned to watch a great aerial battle Tuesday eve in the skies above Merry's Bay. An Osprey had what appeared to be a small fish in it's talons while being attacked by a Bald Eagle. We were not sure which critter was the others possible dinner? Then a bunch of swallows joined in the acrobatics and attacks. Looked like a World War I dog fight. The Eagle got in too close for comfort and the Osprey dropped the supposed fish which appeared to be gliding down to the water. Looked like a dive bomb in Pearl Harbor. I was sure it was going to auger in and splat on my boat. Odd thing is the fish sort of dipped and turned a bit. Apparently it was a now wounded Swallow and not a fish at all. The other small birds escorted the wounded bird off toward the shore. The Eagle and Osprey broke off the fight. I did not know Osprey fed on small birds as well as fish?

DRA and Corps News 6/22/09

Summer Arrives With Good News and Bad News

The first day of summer was a cool wet day but all ramps are open, and the reservoir is just about bank full. We do have some real bad news, once again someone has used a BBQ on the Drift Cr Dock and this time the damage is worse than ever.

The Drift Creek dock is out of service right now due to a broken anchor cable connector.
Apparently a BBQ melted the dock where the anchor hanger was attached.

This is about the fourth time there has been damages due to melting / small BBQ's - this one being by far the worst. The dock is flagged unsafe and is not to be used at all until it is repaired which might not be until after the water comes down. This is going to ruin a lot of recreation for a lot of people.

If you see someone using a small BBQ inform them of the melting problems and continued damage to the docks. We need to spread this word and get this stopped.

The cool weather doesn't stop this birthday dock party.

Life Jacket Loaner Program an Ongoing Success

The lake is Life jacket loaner boards are stocked and being used--there is now a loaner
board at Dent, in addition to Big Eddy, and the 2 ramps at Bruce's Eddy.

Flag Day Activities at Visitor Center

Flag Day weekend festivities at the dam visitor center was enjoyed by many! There was over 100 square dancers whirling and twirling on the center plaza; a local flint-knapper demonstrating the ancient art of making stone tools; and a patriotic craft session with one of of the Corps' volunteers in which we made red, white and blue flowers from ribbon. The volunteer hopes to have a craft session again on July 4th weekend. Since the Visitor Center "plaza" is fast becoming a venue for programs, watch the newspaper and this website for future activities.

Fish Getting Bigger

The nutrient program is ongoing. There's been a few reports (from fishing
folks) of larger fish than last year. Fishing was awful on the dam end for a the last few weeks but it seems to have picked up a lot the past few days. There are happy fisherman out there.


As always springs rising water and creeks bring lots of flotsam to the lake. There's still a lot of debris in the water. Boaters beware. Some of it is very large.

Walking the dog?

Big Eddy Wave Attenuator Tangled in Red Tape

The Corps has been reviewing and reviewing and reviewing the wave attenuator and additional moorage project for over two months. I understand this is the last hurdle before the project can go out for bid and possible construction. Indications are they are almost done with the review and are going to approve the project. Keep your fingers crossed but don't hold your breath.

Row row row your boat...hey gas is expensive!

Corps News Release 5/25/09

Deb Norton is new Dworshak Lead Ranger

It is with Great pleasure to announce that Deb Norton has accepted the position as Lead Ranger at Dworshak.
After a rigorous and lengthy interview process Deb was the best candidate for the job left standing.

Deb has a B.S. degree in recreation leadership and a M.S. in recreation, parks and tourism administration.

Deb has been with us here at Dworshak for the last four years as the Public Awareness Ranger. She has made many significant improvements to her programs and now will have oversight of the Ranger team and the recreation program. The next several years in the recreation arena will be very challenging with shrinking budgets and new demands on the resource. If one's past success in finding and implementing creative solutions is an indicator for future success, then the Dworshak recreation program reins are in capable hands. We are looking forward to continued success with Deb in the coming years.

Please join me in congratulating Deb on her new position and responsibilities.

May - June

My apologies. I have been delinquent with web updates this spring. I was far a field on a road trip. Updates will be made on a regular basis the rest of the boating season.

Water levels were incredibly low for a while bracing for the run off. Sorry I missed that!

You can watch the water level trends on the Corps site which is linked from this site elsewhere site:

and you can see the ramp functional levels also:

As of Sunday 5/1 the larger wide straight ramp in Bruce's Eddy is almost functional, at 4 feet of water rise a day it should be useable by Tuesday.

Please be very careful and watch out for debris. As usual in the spring there are a lot of floating logs.


Big Eddy Wave Attenuator Good News 5/19

It has been determined that the anchors for this project are structure and not fill. The 404 permit that would have significantly delayed the project is not necessary.The Corps is continuing the review process, some of that is consultation with Fish and Wildlife, hopefully that and the Cultural Resource review will end soon and we can get on with a bidding process and get the thing built!

DRA News 5/8/09

Idaho Invasive Species Fund

There was a surprise in the mail yesterday. A pamphlet from Idaho Parks and Recreation. A new law requires any boat that is registered in Idaho or another state, and any non-motorized vessel (canoe, kayak, raft, drift boat, etc.) need to have the an invasive species sticker. Inflatable non-motorized vessels must be less than 10 feet in length to be exempted from this requirement. Failure to have the registration in 2009 is subject to a $57 fine.

More info is available at the Idaho Invasive Species website.

Editor comment: This was a surprise to me. It appears to me this came out of nowhere? My first reaction is why have another complete sticker program to manage? Why wasn't this just an added fee on boat registration? The law indicates this is mandatory.

Wave Attenuator - Marina Enhancement Project

US Army Corps Engineering review of the project is complete, the Planning department has sent a completed Biological Assessment to US Fish & Wildlife Service for SEC 7 consultation; Cultural Resource assessment is underway. We may need a 404 permit for the anchor system.

In English:

The wave attenuator plans review has been completed by the federal engineering folks.

There is a requirement for all projects like this to be run past US Fish & Wildlife Service under a law referred to as Section 7, the Corps indicated they do not anticipate any problems or delays on this project from Fish and Wildlife

As crazy as it seems since its 200 feet under water and probably another 20 feet under silt, the Cultural Resource group has to document the affects of placing of any anchors or a disturbance of a known cultural site. The land under the water at this location was an identified site.

A permit is necessary under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act if there is fill is added to "waters of the United States". They are trying to determine if the anchors for this project come under the 404 permit regulations or are they outside that definition and considered a structure and not fill. If they are fill, the volume of anchors for this project may exceed the national blanket 404 permit already in place for this type of action which means they may need project specific permit. This could add significant time to the project development.

Corps of Engineers - Stimulus Package Funds Local Projects

The United States Army Corps of Engineers today released a listing of Civil Works projects to be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Dworshak projects are:

-Repair/Paving of Dent Acres campground .Fund the contracted rehabilitation/repair and
improvement of existing roads and parking areas for access to recreation and public use areas
through new chip seal, pothole repair and paving where needed as determined by inspection.

-Repair of Granddad Road. Fund the contracted rehabilitation/repair and improvement of
existing roads for access to recreation and public use areas through repair and gravel resurface
where needed as determined by inspection.

-National Fish Hatchery Effluent System upgrade planning and design and architectural
engineering firm to investigate effluent system water quality to determine what system modifications
and improvements are necessary to bring water quality up to proper standards.

The full list of projects is available on the Corps website.

DRA Boaters Clean Docks

Geese have decided that the destination docks are a great place to hang out. The docks are "decorated" by the geese all winter and getting them cleaned off for human habitation is a chore. Some DRA folks took it upon themselves to start the cleaning. Thanks to John, Rick, Vern, Devon and Ed for their efforts and time. No thanks to the geese for their efforts.

Vern, Shep and Devon and the Goose Grease

Vern and Shep and a big pump with a missing nozzle.

Ed a week later goes high tech.


Corps of Engineers Maintenance Crew leader

John Beck has been hired by the Corps as the new maintenance crew leader. John's crew is currently finishing the water system improvements at Dent. He indicated his next project is to get the Merry's Bay and Fred's Bay floating docks back in place.

Corps of Engineers News 3/11/09

The Corps of Engineers has a number of positions that were or will be advertised. All can be viewed at or at Orofino job service.

- Maintenance supervisor
- Utility Systems operators, (potable water)
- Maintenance worker
- Contract specialist
- Student aid

There may also be opportunities through Orofino job service for student jobs in the community, if so, we have agreed to host 2-4 positions at DWO.

We are waiting on a little warmer weather to re-install the Merry's Bay destination dock.
We have ordered cables & supplies to re-install the Fred's Bay dock.

Stimulus money: changing daily as we receive information

The most immediate needs were for items that could be installed or purchased within 4 months. One Dworshak item made that cut:

- Resurface Dent Campground roads - The 30+ year old asphalt is all cut-up and degraded after recent upgrades to the electric system.

A lot is up in the air right now and I believe this to be the first cut to get money out in the economy and get people working - there may be more coming and we are preparing

The nutrient addition project is moving out for the third application year, all contracts are in place. It looks like we are having an impact on the pico-plankton, phytoplankton and zooplankton. If things go the way we expect, we hope to see a significant increase in size and quantity of edible zooplankton this year, (that is until all the hungry Kokanee start to eat it). Based on what we saw last year the length of Kokanee is only slightly increasing, but the weight is significantly increasing.

Kokanee numbers are expected be moderately low this year, but size should be good. I have already heard one report of a group catching 75 with good size of 12-14 inch. Of course they did not tell where that catch came from.

Public Use Plan update:
Walla Walla District is making progress on writing the plan, we had a slow start as funding was not available, anticipate opportunities to talk with the planners this summer. I personally plan to take them out on the lake during and after work to see and enjoy this great resource - How can someone write a plan if they have not lived the fun of a day on the docks, a hike of the trails or a lakeshore camp over night. I will make sure they get the full picture.

Grants: we applied for two state grants- one for Dent campground paving (to fix cuts made in asphalt when we upgraded the electrical system) and for a new destination dock. We should know by late May or June if we received these grants

Dent opening: April 9th for campground. The boat ramp will open as soon as we plow open two lanes of traffic

Boat inspections: corps rangers will do on land State of Idaho boat inspections (same inspection the sheriff's dept does)

Fish station openings- scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend

When around water, ALWAYS wear your PFD

Deb Norton
Lead Ranger
Dworshak Dam and Reservoir

DRA News 3/1/09

Winter on Dworshak is a very slow time. Hopefully as the weather changes we will have some more news to post so please check back as spring arrives. If any one has a suggestion on what information they would like to see on this web site please let me know.

Big Eddy Marina Wave Attenuator / Moorage Project Update

The design for construction of a wave protection and moorage structure on Dworshak Reservoir continues. The project, a wave attenuator and big boat moorage for Big Eddy, has been in the planning stages for three years. The plans and bid package are in the final stages of review. Final approvals of the package by the Idaho State Parks and Corps of Engineers is needed before a recommendation to proceed can be made to the county commissioners. If all goes well construction could start late this spring. The plans indicate a 75 day build time so the structure could possibly be in place by mid to late summer.

Below you can see a conceptual drawing of the proposed wave attenuator / moorage dock in relation to the existing facility. The yellow blocks are large boats. Depending on bids, the project may not be able to build the entire structure shown below. The specifications on the numerous anchors designed by Glosten Associates from Seattle will keep the wave attenuator from moving less than 20 feet in any direction, even as the water levels go up and down. One of the anchor designs suggests slipping used rail road car wheels on to a cable until the desired weight is reached!

Corps of Engineers Grant Proposals

The Corps is applying for two grants this year. One for a floating recreation dock for the Big Eddy area. This would be another large destination dock for the lake. Also a small RV grant for the Dam View Camping Area on the way to Big Eddy. They would like to place 3 covered picnic shelters for that area.

Note: The DRA provided a letter of recommendation to the state grant committee endorsing this project.

Marine Deputy Grant Proposal

The sheriff was requesting a grant to replace the aged marine patrol pick up truck. The grant funds are limited state wide so not all projects can be funded. The Clearwater County Commissioners made a great move in funding this vehicle out side of the grant program, possibly freeing up grant funds go to other projects in the county. Those other projects includethe ones listed on this page as well as others not associated with Dwoprshak Reservoir.

Note: The DRA provided a letter of recommendation to the state grant committee endorsing this project.

Dworshak State Park Grant Proposals

Dworshak State Park is currently pursuing two grants for 2009.


This proposal is to apply for a Waterways Improvement Fund (WIF) grant to replace two docks with one to serve the purpose of a sun-shelter tie-out dock during our busier peak season at higher pool (approx. May through September) and as our low water boat ramp dock during our off season (approx. October through April). We have consulted Knight EZ dock to give us an estimate and diagram of 107' section of this partially self-adjusting dock (with the potential to add more sections depending on funding). Please refer to the attachment above as an example of potential engineering and specs on this dock. It would be setup so that during our shoulder seasons two times per year, park staff would simply detach the dock from the cabling and bring it around to the area that requires its use and reattach it to that areas cabling. Our request on this grant is for $60,000 with IDPR providing at $20,000 match for a total of $80,000.


This proposal is to apply for an RV grant to provide a potentially safer and much more cost effective delivery of water to the park while further protecting the treated water system we have. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is requiring further testing of surface water bacteria beginning in 2009 for E. Coli and Cryptosporidium. These tests will be required bi-weekly at a cost of $500 each (over $6,000 base estimated cost). In addition, the only current testing facility for these waterborne pathogens is located in Spokane, Washington - so added shipping and transportation costs will be expensive (the tests are due within ~30 hours of the water sample being pulled). In addition, surface water systems are also the easiest to tamper with and therefore most regulated and require the highest levels of monitoring of the water (and water operator licensing) that a well system does not currently require. This results in much additional licensing and renewal classes, that while valuable, takes away from our ability to perform other important park tasks assigned to our park rangers and staff.

If you have any questions or concerns please email or call.

Chuck Gross
Park Ranger
Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation
Dworshak State Park

Phone: 208-476-5994
Fax: 208-476-7225

Note: The DRA provided a letter of recommendation to the state grant committee endorsing this project.

Corps of Engineers to Reset Docks

The Merry's Bay destination dock was ripped from it's anchorage in a large storm last summer. It has been temporarily moored in the center of the bay on a temp anchor. The Corps plans on replacing / improving the anchor system and placing it in the old location on the east side of the bay. The Fred's Bay Safe harbor dock was pulled under last spring as the water came up, the anchor line was tangled in bottom debris. It spent the entire last summer hiding near the dam in a storage mode. The Corps plans to replace / improve the anchor system and place it in the old location in the bay.

Dworshak State Park Manager

The state park manager position was advertised to be filled in early February. The vacancy solicitation has closed. We may soon have a new state park manager.

Update: The governor has implemented a hiring freeze on state jobs that requires additional justification to fill jobs, overall time frame is unknown at this point in time but they still hope to have someone in place by May.

Corps of Engineers Maintenance Crew

The lead Corps resource maintenance position was also advertised.

DRA News 10/1/08

NOAA Weather Spotter Class a success

There were 30 attendees at the NOAA Weather Spotter Class Tuesday September 30 at the Dworshak Dam Visitor Center. Peter Felsch did a great job presenting the information and there seemed to be a lot of interest from folks in joining in as Weather Spotters for the area. We would like to thank Peter for his efforts and the Corps for hosting the class.

Water is bottomed out at 80 feet down. Big Eddy Marina.

Marina wave attenuator / additional moorage discussions continue

The committee led by Chris Kuykendall and assigned by County Commissioners to review and over see the development of a wave attenuator and added moorage at the Big Eddy Marina continued the process of trying to match the best design with the available grant moneys. In reviewing the preliminary drawings and cost that Matrix Engineering provided the group came up with some questions on possible changes to the designs to lower costs but needed to know what that change would do to the functionality of the system. It is still real early in this process and as things solidify we will provide better information. The group is scheduled to meet with Matrix on October 9.

The initial plan was to have a 400 foot long 10x10 concrete dock in front of the marina with boat slips on the marina side with finger docks. There may not be enough funds to accomplish all this so the team is looking at ways to cut costs and still provide wave protection and moorage. The finger docks for boat slips may not be possible but can be set up to be added at a later date.

Matrix Engineering was to sign the design contract on Monday 9/29. This starts the desgn package in motion. First item is to obtain the topography of the lake bottom in front of the marina (bathymetry). Harrison Dock builders out of North Idaho is going to run that survey. Next is obtaining weather data, wind speeds, wind direction and duration to try and determine how much protection the marina needs. Matrix works with a deep sea anchor design firm, Glosten Associates out of Seattle that will design the anchor system based on the attenuator configuration, bathymetry and climate.

DRA Meeting list accomplishments, discusses finances and assigns directors

A short overview and business meeting of the DRA prior to the Tuesday weather class discussed association accomplishments, finances and voted on officers.

Recent Accomplishments

Volunteers assisted the Corps in assembly of the Indian Cr Destination Dock and placed temporary tables on the dock. Raise funds to purchase two commercial grade tables for that dock. Maintained this web site. Worked with NOAA and Corps to provide Weather Spotter course.

Membership / Finances

We consider everyone that uses Dworshak Reservoir as a member. There are no mandatory dues or fees but most folks have donated $5 a family (or more) to be better members! The money goes to the operation of the web site that is full of information and news on Dworshak and to projects on the lake such as tables for the docks or life jackets for the boat ramp loaner kiosks. All money received or spent is documented in the associations records and all expenditures must have the majority approval of the Board of Directors.

You can donate by making a check payable to the Dworshak Reservoir Association and depositing it in our account at the American West Bank in Orofino

Since we began actually incurring expenditures and donation around August 2006. We have raised raised $2940.80.

Expended $104.80 on web domain registration and hosting
Expended $2047 for two commercial grade tables donated to Corps for Indian Cr dock.
Total Expended = $104.80 + $2047 = $2151.80
Balance $2940.80 - $2151.80 = $789.00

DRA Directors

Ed Lozar was nominated for the the position of president and the group agreed to the assignment. Devon Bunyan and Dave Parker were nominated to be on the Board of Directors and the group agreed to their assignment.

Dent boat ramp

Freeman Cr boat ramp

DRA News 9/4/08

Corps sets two public meetings for Dworshak public use plan 9/15/08

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold public meetings Sept. 17 in Orofino, and Sept.18 in Lewiston, to gather public input and ideas to include in developing a plan for public uses for lands and water around Dworshak Reservoir on the North Fork of the Clearwater River.

The meetings are set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Best Western Lodge at 615 Main Street, Orofino, and 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel, Port #3, 621 21st Street, Lewiston.

The purpose for the meetings is to receive public input to assist planners in the development of a draft public use plan, originally produced in 1970.

Meeting participants will discuss balancing increasing demands for public use with changing reservoir levels and conditions, then, explore options for management considerations for the public use plan. The public will be provided the opportunity to ask questions, discuss concerns and provide ideas for future management.

For information regarding this meeting, contact Dworshak Natural Resources Manager, Paul Pence at (208) 476-1258. or access the Dworshak Public Use Plan page on the Corps' website at

NOAA Weather Spotter Class date is Tuesday September 30 at the Dworshak Dam Visitor Center at 6:30 PM. It is free and open to the public. See below for more information. The weather spotter class will start at 7 PM, from 6:30 to 7 PM the DRA will conduct a short business meeting that the public is encouraged to attend.

NOAA Weather Warning System Update

After the severe storm on August 8, 2008 that blew through Orofino and caused damage in town and on the lake, the DRA asked the NOAA if there was anything they could do to enhance weather warnings for Dworshak Reservoir. The NOAA looked into their procedures. Kerry M. Jones, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) for the National Weather Service in Spokane, WA responded,

"Several severe thunderstorm warnings were issued that day for Asotin, Nez Perce, Clearwater and Idaho Counties. During the event, a staff member at NWS Spokane was manually sending each individual warning to the Lewiston NWR. Two of the warnings made it to NWR, including one just 7 minutes earlier, but regrettably the 637 pm PDT warning for Clearwater County did not. To ensure this does not happen in the future, we will modify our scripts/procedures such that any and all severe weather warnings will automatically go to NWR."

In addition the NOAA has offered to teach a course on weather spotting in Orofino. Peter Felsch, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist of the National Weather Service in Missoula is working with the DRA to present a weather spotter training course. The free course would last around 45 to 50 minutes. After the course you would have a good idea of the weather headed your way based on cloud formations. The actual weather spotter class will start at 7 pm, from 6:30 to 7 pm the DRA will conduct a short business meeting that the public is encouraged to attend.

Severe weather approaches Merry's Bay
Shelf cloud - August 8, 2008

After the training session, those who are interested and sign up to be severe weather spotters, are given a spotter packet containing the training material, reporting procedures and criteria, as well as a 1-800 phone number to contact NOAA at any time on the reservoir or at home. The spotters are plotted on a map and the NOAA operational staff have their home and cell phone numbers available to contact them. Typically NOAA would call them when we either issue warnings and/or observe strong storms approaching their location to get feedback and ground truth information..

NOAA has a full section on their web page which explains the severe weather spotter program at

In the middle of the page, there is an online course mainly for summer convection training at

County Commissioners Work With Matrix Engineering on Marina Improvement

The commissioners met with Matrix Engineering and Harrison Dock Builders August 25, on the wave attenuation system / additional large boat moorage design for the Big Eddy Marina. After discussions, the commissioners have agreed to have Matrix Engineering design the system. Matrix is doing some preliminary work to estimate the size and cost of the system the county envisioned. An aggressive schedule without any unforeseen problems, could have the design completed in 10 weeks. Construction could start early 2009. We will keep you posted.

Scope of Work for engineering services to be provided will include:

1. Design & Engineering specifications to support construction of a wave attenuation system at Big Eddy Marina;

2. Design & Engineering specifications for moorage of large (over 30 ft in length) boats in conjunction with the wave attenuation system;

3. Field investigation and survey;

4. Consult with US Army Corps of Engineers and/or other state and federal permitting agencies and prepare necessary environmental and agency permits; and

The design shall include:

1. Conceptual drawings and description, and design criteria;

2. Detailed description of engineering specifications;

3. Detailed plans suitable for bidding construction costs to include all structural, mechanical, electrical and all other required/related systems;

4. Opinion of probable cost estimate for construction and installation

DRA Donations Secure New Picnic Tables

A big thanks to everyone that donated to the DRA's efforts to purchase two new tables for the Indian Creek Destination dock! The tables have been purchased and delivered from Pilot Rock and are currently awaiting assembly and deployment in the Corps of Engineers warehouse here in Orofino. The two tables are heavy duty commercial grade tables like the ones already in place on the other docks on the lake. One of the new tables is wheel chair accessible. Including shipping the cost of the tables was $2047! A substantial sum for our association to secure. Again, thanks to all that helped make this project successful. Hopefully we can get some pictures posted in the near future.

Bass Tournament

A number of fisherman did quite well over the weekend bass fishing. The average fish weight was 4.5 pounds!

Very Happy Fisherman
All catch and release

Spokane Yacht Club Plans Dworshak Cruise

The DRA received a request for recreation information about Dworshak Reservoir from the Spokane Yacht Club. They are considering traveling here with 10 to 30 boats (20-30 foot cruisers) to meet up on the lake, cook a community dinner and breakfast and just enjoy the lake. This is in the early planning stages but if they decide on the trip they have indicated they would invite the members of the DRA to join in the fun!

Merry's Bay / Fred's Bay Dock Update

The Merry's Bay destination dock anchorage system was lost in the August 8 storm. The Fred's Bay Safe Harbor dock anchorage was tangled on the bottom debris this winter when the water was low and lost. The Corps has ordered cable, pulleys and anchors for both docks and hopes to repair them as soon as possible. The Merry's Bay dock is temporarily tied off to the yellow can buoy in Merry'sBay and open for public use.

DRA News 8/22/08

Merry's Bay Dock Repaired

Great news! The Corps maintenance crew repaired the Merry's Bay Destination Dock Thursday August 20, that was damaged by the wind storm August 8. Unfortunately the one anchor that they thought survived the storm did not;: one anchor disappeared during the storm and other one during recovery. The remaining anchor connecting plate was held on by a thread and dropped off as they were preparing to lift it for repair. The dock itself is now intact and tied off to the yellow can buoy in Merry'sBay and open for public use. The Corps is in the process of ordering new cable and anchors.

The dock repairers are (L to R), Erick Engle, Bob Kaufman, and John Beck.
The DRA would like to thank them for their efforts. Well done gentlemen!

Merry's bay dock being repaired.

NOAA Weather Offices Respond to DRA

The DRA sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather folks in Spokane. They are responsible for the marine VHF weather broadcast. The letter requested that the NOAA broadcast out of Lewiston specifically target Dworshak, specifically when high winds are possible. Peter Felsch, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Missoula and Don Gardner, the Clearwater County Emergency Management Coordinator both responded almost immediately.

The DRA is discussing with the Corps and NOAA to see if any thing can be done to improve the weather warnings on Dworshak.

Life Jacket Loaner Board Works....But....

The life jacket loaner program worked quite well this summer. The jackets were used extensively and returned to the board. Up until last weekend only one jacket went missing. This past weekend, six more took a hike. We are hoping they will turn up. Please return the jackets after using them, even if it is at the gas station on the way out of town. The next person that needs one will certainly appreciate the jacket.

DRA News 8/18/08

Algae Update

First local toxin test from 8/8 on the algae came back negative. Two two more tests 8/15 also came back both with negative recreation level results. The levels are below the safe recreation level of 10ppb. It is safe to go in the water. Algae has mostly all subsided, (short life cycle). The two blue-green algae's in the reservoir are Anabaena and Microcystis with the bloom being mostly Anabaena.

DRA News 8/10/08

Wind Storm

The thunder / wind storm last Friday 8/8 caused some damage around the reservoir.

The Merry's Bay destination dock was torn in half by high winds from the sudden storm. The bay went from dead calm to 3 foot waves in about 5 minutes.

The NOAA marine radio gave no indication of the storm approaching Orofino. A warning was issued for Lewiston and Asotin on the radio. Discussions after the storm with folks in town indicated the NOAA television weather had posted a warning for Orofino. Most boaters will vacate the dock for shelter if they know a storm is coming. The DRA intends to discuss the lack of warning on the marine radio with the NOAA. I think the storm moved so fast they just could not get it to the recorded radio message. Discussions are also taking place on how to avoid such surprises in the future and possibly establish some guidelines on when to seek shelter.

Numerous boaters were tied to the dock during the storm. Some sustained damage.

The dock broke into several sections and one anchor was lost.

All the private boats were safely removed from the dock under their own power and the Corps of Engineers (COE) rounded up the pieces of the dock for future repair.

The COE do not expect to have this dock functional until next season. The closest dock is in the mouth of Indian Creek about 4 miles up the lake from the dam.

A smaller boat got caught in the storm out front of Dent campground. The individual made it back to shore but his boat was swamped on shore. The CCSO , (Mike Gladhardt), responded and gave assistance and follow up assistance the next day. We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated and effective marine deputy program on this lake.

Dent campground was without power for a while and a couple of trees came down in the campground with no damage to person or property. Rangers did warn and assist the campers at Dent and the Dent Group camp.

There were no reports of any marina damage.

No injuries were reported on the reservoir.

Blue Green Algae Blooms on the Reservoir

There are minor algae concentrations in some of the calm back bays and around docks.

Blue-green algae are actually bacteria (cyanobacteria) which are able to photosynthesize, hence the green color They usually are too small to be seen individually, but sometimes can form visible colonies. Some cyanobacterial blooms can look like foam, scum, or mats on the surface of fresh water lakes and ponds. The blooms can be blue, bright green, brown, or red and may look like paint floating on the water.

Information from John Stockner, the contract limnologist who works with the Corps of Engineers indicated that the very high runoff year and a higher than normal 'natural' Phosphorus and Nitrogen load that was the likely trigger, coupled with the higher temperatures and high light intensities of mid-summer.

As Dworshak reservoir naturally ages these small blooms will likely reoccur and their intensity will be related to the hydrologic cycle, or more specifically to the magnitude of the spring 'freshet' and the nutrient loads it carries into the system.

The nutrient supplement program was not the cause of the bloom and in fact the bloom was limited by the program. The blooms are more prominent in Elk Cr and the Little North Fork where there is no nutrient supplement taking place.

John is confident that Anabaena algae will soon leave Dworshak and the system will return to a less 'green' state.

There are many species of algae, most do not produce toxins. It is important to remember that algae are a natural part of our water ways and all cyanobacteria can produce skin irritants under certain conditions and some can produce multiple types of the more harmful toxins. The water is being tested for these toxins.

Algae Do's and Dont's (Info from NOAA, Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health)

  • Do avoid contact with water where algae are visible (e.g. pea soup,
    floating mats, scum layers, etc), or where water is discolored
  • Do rinse yourself and/or your pet off after swimming in any ponds, lakes or
    streams, regardless of the presence of a visible algal blooms
  • Don’t allow children or pets to play in or drink water where scum is present
  • Don’t water-ski or jet-ski over algal mats
  • Don’t drink untreated surface water, whether or not blooms are

Remember, BOILING THE WATER WILL NOT REMOVE THE TOXINS It is not known at this time if toxins are being produced by these algae, test results are not yet available, the information will be posted here on the web when it is received.)

Clearwater County Commissioners to Interview Prospective Engineering Firm

The commissioners have selected Matrix Engineering of Harrison, Idaho as the prospective designer of the wave attenuator and additional large mooring slips at the Big Eddy Marina. The firm will meet with the commissioners on August 25 at 3:30 for an interview, price negotiation and discussion on the scope and needs of the project.

DRA News 8/4/08

Marina Addition and Wave Break Project Proposal Underway

The County Commissioners received Statements of Qualification from three prospective engineering firms this past Monday. The statements are from three engineering firms that are interested in the design component of the construction project of the wave attenuator and additional large mooring slips at the Big Eddy Marina.

A group of seven are in the process of evaluating the statements. The team consists of Stan Leach, County Commissioner; Chris Kuykendall, Clearwater County Economic Development; Ed Lozar, Waterways Committee; Paul Pence, Corps of Engineers; Heather Burnham, Orofino Chamber of Commerce; Devon Bunyan, Dworshak Reservoir Association; and David Ricks, Department of Idaho State Parks and Recreation (Boise) and Dworshak State Park staff, Chuck Gross.

The evaluations are to be completed by noon Monday 8/11, after which Chris will compile the results and present to Commissioners at 4:30 pm Monday 8/11. The proposals are available for review at the Commissioners office or you may discuss the proposals with any of the team members.

The firm identified as the most qualified will then meet with the Commissioners to discuss the actual design, engineering specifications and costs in more detail. As I understand this process, if the firm and commissioners can come to consensus on the design and costs they will be awarded the design contract. The actual construction bidding will take place once the design is complete and be managed by ID Parks & Recreation. It is anticipated construction will start this winter and the new facility will be in place for the 2009 boating season.

Wednesday Night Dock Luck in the Movies

This past Wednesday, a video photographer attended the Wednesday Mexican Dock Luck gathering in Merry's Bay. He recorded a lot of footage for the Orofino Economic Development advertising video. He has been filming all sorts of Orofino activities for over a week. Before you think you may be famous, the final video product is 3 1/2 minutes long, but hey 3 seconds of fame is better than none!

Indian Creek Destination Dock Returns

The Corps anchored the Indian Creek dock last week. It is now at the mouth of Indian Creek with some temporary tables.

Gas Prices Change Boating

The high fuel costs have brought out some interesting aquatic vehicles to the reservoir.

Water skiing anyone?

DRA is Chamber of Commerce Lunch Program

President Ed will attempt a lunch talk at this Wednesday's Orofino Chamber of Commerce lunch. He was invited to tell them about the DRA. Wish him luck, he hasn't speeched much since retiring.

DRA News 7/23/08

Destination Docks

The Corps of Engineers plans to apply for a grant for two new destination docks this fall. The Corps matches the grant funds using the cost of labor and equipment they furnish. Grant funds are used to purchase the materials. The Corps has asked if the DRA can commit to volunteer labor to assemble the docks. Local commitment of labor shows the grant committee there is local support and may help influence their decision. The DRA needs to hear from folks if they are willing to commit dock assembly time.

The Corps is thinking of locating the one of the new docks across and just upstream from the marina and another
near Cold Springs camp. Please voice your opinion on location to the DRA or Corps.

Rick and Shep cooling off.

DRA Membership and Awareness Increases

The last few Clearwater Tribunes highlighted some activities and projects that the DRA has accomplished and has underway. Interest in the DRA has increased. Local business's have donated funds and so have individuals. All funds go to the enhancement of recreation on the reservoir.

The Chamber of Commerce has asked the President of the DRA to the be the guest speaker at their lunch meeting on August 6. We are moving forward!

DRA Places Temporary Tables on Indian Creek Dock

A couple of DRA members worked with the Corps to place and secure some older tables on the enlarged Indian Creek dock that is temporarily in Merry's Bay. The Corps plans to return the dock to Indian Creek this Friday 7/25. (They placed the dock Friday morn, it is back in Indian Cr) The DRA hopes to purchase and donate new tables by the end of August. We would like them to be there sooner but we are still raising funds and believe it or not there is back order on these types of tables. We would like to thank the Corps for going along with the temp table idea. Watch out for slivers.

Volunteer Devon / DRA member w/ temp table

Devon and Ed test the table

It didn't take long for folks to enjoy the temp dock and tables.

Water Levels

The Dworshak water level was within five feet of full for 23 days from June 26 through July 19. That is the longest it has been that full for years. Heavy lingering snow packs and river flows allowed the water to be held longer. The need to keep water temps low down stream however has finally started the drawdown. Water levels are now dropping about a foot a day. The Dworshak "beaches" are abundant!

Water released from Dworshak Dam


Wednesday Night Dock Luck - DRA meeting 7/17/08

It was Gangster Night and food on a stick night. Don't ask me how those were combined. There was, as usual a lot of great food. This weeks game was a bean bag toss. Accidentally invented by my grand daughter Montana while messing with left over wood scraps in my garage. Once again, instead of taking half the winnings as a prize, the grand champion donated all the funds back to the DRA. Thanks to John Schlee pictured below handing the donation to Gangster Ed, the DRA president.

DJ, John and Joe
Top three baggers.

Check out more gangster dock luck and other pictures here.


A moose was encounterd switching shorelines.


Wednesday Night Dock Luck - DRA meeting 7/09/08

DRA President Pirate Ed accepts donation from the duck champion Scott
It was Pirate Night on the dock Wednesday. Parts were played well! The food was excellent and plentiful as usual. There was a duck race contest. Entry was a dollar and half the proceeds were to go to the DRA. It was a hard squirted bucket laughing time. Third place went to Shauna, second to Mike and over all duck champion was Scott who donated all his winnings to the DRA. The association got all the funds! A total of $33. The DRA thanks you all. All DRA funds go back into enhancing the recreation on Dworshak!

Click here to see more Wednesday night pirate and duck race pictures

Dworshak : A Recreation Destination

Dworshak Reservoir was a busy place over the July 4th weekend. Folks came from near and far to enjoy the full pool, warm water, great campsites, fishing, water skiing, tubing and destination docks. Dworshak is a community asset. Folks that recreate on the lake help the local economy. The scenery alone is worth the trip, not to mention the continuously improving fishing. The DRA is working with the Corps of Engineers to enhance the recreation experience.

Jet boat and jet ski  

Boaters enjoy the Drift Creek Destination Dock , looks like a full house. 

A few weeks ago the DRA organized a volunteer work group to rebuild the Indian Creek destination dock. The docks provide a place for safe swimming away from boat propellers and a place to visit with fellow boaters while enjoying a picnic.  There is now room on the enlarged Indian Cr dock to accommodate a few tables. The Corps should have the dock back in Indian Creek soon.  

Teens enjoy a dock picnic in Merry’s Bay , hot dogs all around!

Mom (Erica Painter visiting from Alaska) guards the food at the table while the kids swim.

The DRA is in the process of gathering donations to purchase 2 tables for the Indian Creek dock.  Commercial grade out-door tables, that can with-stand the outdoors year long, are not inexpensive.  The group hopes to fund the purchase through membership dues / donations from any and all that are willing to help or join. They are also working with the Corps on funding part of the life jacket loaner boards. One loaner board was put into place over the weekend. The jackets were provided to insure everyone can have a safe boating experience.

Life jacket loaner board, they were in use all weekend, protecting lives.

If you enjoy Dworshak and / or would like to help enhance the recreation on the lake, your donation to the non- profit Dworshak Reservoir Association (DRA) in any amount would be appreciated.  All funds will be used to enhance recreation on the lake. Some local businesses have donated substantial sums; some folks choose the  $5.00 annual membership. We are slowly growing. Donations can be made to the Dworshak Reservoir Association account at the American West bank in Orofino. We would like to acknowledge your participation, however any anonymous donation will be gladly accepted.

David Kludt on the dock but ready for hiking or swimming


The Corps was unable to get the reconstructed and improved Indian Cr dock back to Indian Cr for the holiday but will temporarily secure it for use in the Merry's Bay area until they can get it back in place. The equipment to set it in place is way up the lake involved with the fish nutrient enhancement program.

Thanks to the Corps and specifically Ben Perkins for listening to our concerns and for coming up with a temporary solution to facilitate recreation on Dworshak.

A view of the marina from the hill side across the reservoir. Almost a full pool 6/28. There is like 7 steps from the parking lot to the docks!

Destination Dock Tables - Matching Fund Opportunity

We have an opportunity to purchase and two dock picnic tables for the price of one. An anonymous donor has offered to buy one table if the DRA can come up with the funds for one table. The tables cost is $500 - $700. These are heavy duty out door commercial grade tables. You can donate by depositing funds in the Dworshak Reservoir Association account at the American West Bank in Orofino or by mailing to the address in the next paragraph.

DRA Funds

We are non profit but we do incur expenses, mainly the web site domain name and hosting (internet disk space), all the coding and site maintenance is donated. We accept donations to cover those expenses. In order to facilitate the proper handling of those expenses and donations we have opened a checking account. (Little did I know about the pile of forms the IRS now wants!) Records of donations and expenditures are kept. We are considering a voluntary solicitation of dues. Like $5 a year per family. What do you all think? dra @ (I did not make it a hot email link because it will get spammed.)

Having some funds will also help us get more involved in projects on the lake like sponsoring one of the life jacket loaner kiosks. If you have a comment or wish to donate your dues. Make the check payable to the Dworshak Reservoir Association, 12894 Hartford Ave, Orofino, Idaho 83544.

Full Pool

With the large long lasting snow pack all over the state, the reservoir is full a few days early and may remain full for a longer time this July. Normally the pool is only full for the July 4th holiday weekend but this year rumor has it it may stay full a whole week before it starts to drop to aid the fish migration. Hopefully it will drop slower than it has in the past also making the mini camps accessible longer.

Be very careful boating as full pool has floated all the shoreline debris and it is hiding every where. Some of it looks like it can bite!

Wood Gator!

Speaking of biting. If you hike the reservoir shores and trails be sure and watch for snakes. I saw this Bull Snake this weekend, but there are also Rattle Snakes. Watch where you step!

Bull Snake

Dock Volunteers Deserve Thank You

A number of folks volunteered their time and did a lot of hard work in the past week. They gave up a Tuesday morning to take a part some docks to set the stage for the following Monday assembly / modification of the Indian Creek destination dock on Dworshak Reservoir. The volunteers really worked hard. Assembling the docks is no easy chore. It is hard physical labor. By the end of the day folks were very tired and probably all took some muscle ache reliever and went to bed early. The volunteers deserve a large thank you as the new dock will be enjoyed by a lot of people this summer.

The majority of the dock parts were from the county docks that were placed at the swimming area near the marina years ago. Adding them to the county dock in Indian Creek will make that one of the larger destination docks on the lake. The Corps hopes to have it back in place at Indian Creek in the soon. We are trying to secure some funds through different sources to get some tables for the dock.

Dock volunteers - Devon Bunyan, Beth Davis, Ed Lozar, Aaron Lighter

Dog bones lined up for bolting

Randy Steiner on the left helped moving tools and parts - some assembly required!

Not shown because the camera was not around when he helped - Dave Parker

Life jacket loaner program looking for sponsors.

The life jacket loaner boards are in place and the Corps is looking for entities to sponsor the boards by funding the purchase of jackets. The DRA was asked if they could contribute but we really don't have any money. We are so non profit...we have none. Looks like Walmart may be offering them at cost. If there are a few of us willing to chip in some money and sponsor a board that would be a good thing. I am sure any amount would be appreciated. These jackets will be available for public use (honor system) and will have various sizes of life jackets to fit both adults and children. There will be information on how to properly fit and wear the jackets at each board. We ask that once you wear the jackets that you return them to the board in which you borrowed them from or to any state park, state park employee, the dam visitor center, any Corps employee or the sheriff’s department.

New Corps Web Site

The Corps of Engineers has a new recreation web site that does a good job on the Dworshak facilitates.

Storm on the horizon
Time to batten down the hatches! Saturday, May 31

Merrys Bay storm
Lucky for us it mostly went south.

Corps Notes 5/2/08

Marina anchor cable is repaired. Ben Perkins & crew took advantage of the low water and were able to retrieve the vertical cable to the surface. The cable was evaluated, the broken, messed up section cut out and a new cable spliced in and attached to the surface winch platform. The horizontal line from the anchor to the marina will be replaced this summer when the water is full, the weather warm and the wind calm.

This was really good innovative work and prevented the corps maintenance folks from having to drop 48,000lbs of anchor off the barge.

The Corps took advantage of the low water and installed an additional rail on the Big Eddy ramp to allow the plastic rail dock to be used at lower water levels.

Bald Eagles have left the Merry's Bay nest, the trail has been re-opened.

Life jacket loaner boards are in place and jackets should be available for loan soon.


St Patrick's weekend dock gathering..the sunny part... check out more St Pat's pics

Dworshak Dam and Reservoir ready for spring visitors

Enjoy beautiful north Idaho at the facilities operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir. The reservoir level is changing every day and Bruce’s Eddy Ramp #1, Big Eddy and Dent Acres ramps are open.

Early season camping begins April 10 at Dent Acres Campground. Site fees are $10 per day by self-deposit registration. Regular season camping starts May 22 with full hook-up sites available for $18 per night. Make reservations for the regular season by calling 877-444-6777, or by visiting the web site,

Those seeking a more primitive camping experience can visit Dam View and Canyon Creek where primitive camping is available at no charge starting April 1.

The Big Eddy day use area offers attractions to young and old. Big Eddy amenities include a swim beach, playground, picnic shelters and barbecue grills. Take a hike along the Big Eddy trail to Dworshak State Park and have a picnic at one of several mini camps along the way. The Merry’s Bay day use area opens April 1 and offers secluded picnicking and fishing.

Turkey hunting season is just around the corner. Hunting is allowed on all Corps property around the reservoir except in developed recreation areas. Be aware that ATV operations is prohibited off designated roads and behind gates or fences.

Please allow all safety precautions while recreating in the forest during the hunting season. When boating on the reservoir, remember that lake levels can change quickly. The weather may be warming but water in Dworshak is still very cold from the spring snowmelt.

For updated water level and boat ramp information, call 800-321-3198. Always be aware of the hypothermia danger and wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device.

For more information regarding facilities access and current conditions call 208-476-1261, or stop by our Visitor Center, which is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Corps Notes 3/14/08

Includes some repeats with more details

Dent Acres Ramp is open and the campground will open on April 10. Merry’s Bay, Canyon Creek, Dam View and Grandad open on April 1.

There appears to be vandalism at the Big Eddy floating pump out station – there is a rock sized hole in the solar panel. Maintenance is working on getting it repaired.

A new solar light at Canyon Creek is awaiting installation. It was an in-kind product from a real estate easement renewal and replaces the current vandalized solar light.

Life Jacket Loaner boards will be installed at Bruce’s Eddy #1 ramp, Dent Acres and Big Eddy ramps. These jackets will be available for public use (honor system) and will have various sizes of life jackets to fit both adults and children. There will be information on how to properly fit and wear the jackets at each board. We ask that once you wear the jackets that you return them to the board in which you borrowed them from or to any state park, state park employee, the dam visitor center, any corp employee or the sheriff’s department.

Dworshak park rangers are working with the local sheriff’s department in provide water safety classes to kids in Orofino and surrounding areas.

In the near future, hikers will find trailhead kiosks (such as the one already in place at the Big Eddy Trail) installed with maps and helpful hints specific to each trail. This included Merry’s Bay, Cold Springs, Dent Acres and Canyon Creek trails.

The reservoir nutrient program is preparing for a second year of application after a very successfully first year report.

DRA Notes 3/7/08

Cable Repair Underway at Marina

The other older cable that anchors the marina has broken. Last year one broke and was replaced. The Corps anticipated the second one failing from age and actually procured the materials last year. They were unable to replace it last year but are already working with the materials to fix this latest failure. Weather permitting they hope to have it fixed soon enough to avoid any delay in the marina operation.

Speaking of last years cable. Hear say indicates there will be an adjustment in this year's marina moorage charge for the time lost because of the cable break last year. You may want to call and ask them not to forget that....


Some moron vandalized the solar panel at the pump out station in front of the marina. A large rock was thrown up on to the panel damaging it. Obviously the rock had to be intentionally brought from shore? Money to be used improving facilities elsewhere now has to go into fixing this senseless act. The Corps is considering implementing a crime stoppers / neighbor watch type system. Rewards will be offered for information / evidence on such activity that leads to a prosecution.

Grants discussed previously on this site will be awarded (or not) in May. (See December below.)

Water Levels

As you know there is a lot of snow in the mountains. Like 110% of normal. Check out snow pack at this site. Operating curves indicate the water level will have to drop about 20 feet by the end of March to 1500 to make room for snow melt. Check out the water level at the Corps site.

Life Jacket Loan Program and Trailhead Kiosks

The Corps is working on and hopes to have the life jacket loan kiosks on the lake this season. Jackets will be located at the main ramps for temporary use. This helps the folks that forgot them at home and did not realize it until they get to the lake. Life jackets save lives and making them available to the public at the ramps makes sense. Safety is always number one.

Trail head informational kiosks are also being implemented this season.

Dent Acres will be open March 10.


Numerous Grants Requested to Improve Dworshak Facilities

The Clearwater County Sheriff's Marine Division, the Corps of Engineers and Dworshak State Park have proposed projects and are applying for grant money. These grants are federal and sometimes state money that can be obtained by competing with other requests around the state. The awards are based on value to the public in regards to safety and enhanced recreation. They are generally match grants which means entities have to have anywhere from 25 to 50% of the cost of a project already available.

The DRA was asked to review the all of the proposals except the diving equipment request and provide letters of support to be included in the grant proposal if they supported the project. The DRA board provided letters of recommendation for all of the projects they were asked to review.

The Clearwater County Waterways Committee has reviewed all the projects and has provided letters of recommendation for the projects to be used by the grant requester as they apply to the state grants committee. The Sheriff's Marine Division grant requests must also be approved by the county commissioners. The projects are listed below. More information is available from the listed requester.

Corps of Engineers - Paul Pence

-New ramp dock at Dent with docking fingers
-Additional destination dock for the Merry's bay area

Dworhsak State Park - Kristi Stephens Park Manager

-Wave attenuation system for the big Eddy Marina (wave break)
-New dock for the Freeman Cr. boat ramp (below the picnic area / sun shelter)

Sheriff's Marine Division - Mike Gladhart

-Replacement of patrol / tow vehicle pickup truck
-Diving Equipment - compressor and air tank filler

Boater Education and Operator Regulations Being Considered

Randy Herman, Idaho state boat safety coordinator, briefed the Waterways Committee on possible boating regulation changes in Idaho's future. The changes are in the very early stages of discussion and estimates are that there would not be any actual changes until 2009, if at all. The state is working with various user groups and agencies in discussing mandatory boater education and possibly some sort of certification to operate a water craft in the state. Minimum operator age requirements are also being discussed.

Early discussions started with personal water craft (PWC) or what some refer to as jet skis. Idaho is one of only two states that do not have a minimum age requirement to operate a PWC. Injury and death statistics show that a large percentage of injuries and deaths involving a PWC include a young operator. Minimum age requirements / adult supervision / education requirements are some of the possibilities being discussed.

If you want more information on these discussions I suggest contacting the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office.

Your input is requested:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is asking for public comment on proposed grant projects for year 2008. Proposed projects include:

1. Replacing the finger dock at Dent Acres (the old one at Dent is in a high state of repair, does not ride on the rail correctly in fluctuating water levels and is not ADA compliant)

2. Installing a new destination dock in the Merry's Bay area (this is in addition of the already existing destination dock in the area).

All comments will be appreciated and can be sent to or call Paul Pence at 476-1258. Thank You!


Corps Cleaning Contract Enhancements

The destination and safe harbor docks on the lake have been added to the responsibilities of the reservoir facilities cleaning contract. The docks should now be cleaned on a regular basis along with restrooms and campsites etc... I hope they have a lot of de-gooser!


Fire Back on the Landscape

In mid October the Corps capitalized on a narrow window of good burning weather and completed the prescribed underburns in the Little Bay Stewardship Project.

Most of the burning took place across the reservoir from Three Meadows group camp. They thought they were going to have to wait until next year to do this as it was still too dry in late September to purposely ignite anything at the bottom of a steep slope.

As it turned out the biggest challenge was not the weather, but rather smoke management. The North Idaho air shed denied the first requests to burn, but later gave the go ahead to C-PTPA fire warden Howard weeks for the burn.

A lot of smoke was produced and it lingered on the lake for a few days, but they got an excellent burn on the overgrown underbrush and left over slash from the forest thinning operation.

The purpose of the stewardship project was to attempt to return the forest back to a condition that would have been expected had fire not been taken off the landscape. Historically south facing hillsides like Little Bay experienced cool underburns every 7 - 25 years, clearing out the less fire tolerant tree species, exposing pine cones and other seeds to heat to help them open for germination and regenerating the brushy undergrowth. The area should be nice and green this spring, but don't be alarmed if next summer you see a few dead standing trees, on some of the south facing ridges they did have some fire crowning in a few spots.

Underburn inspection
Russ Davis, (Dworshak wildlife biologist),
examines depth of duff layer burning.

The fire was spread using a Helo-torche, a system that is suspended from a helicopter and drops burning fuel on the forest below. Ray Reel was the pilot.

The perfect seed bed
The perfect seed bed.

Underburn at Little Bay
Corps brings fire back on the landscape.
Prescribed underburns in the Little Bay Stewardship Project.

Results of the underburn
Bob Tardif, (Dworshak Forester), examining big pine the day after

Docks Invaded by Spiders

Spiders have invaded the lonely destination docks, maybe its a Halloween thing. The very warm and dry fall weather seems to have allowed the spiders to float on their webs more than usual and they have established quite a colony on the destination docks. A few frosty nights should slow them down considerably!

Dworshak Master Plan

The Dworshak Master Plan public working group meetings have concluded. The final document from contractor to be delivered this month.

Construction on South End of the Dam

You may have noticed some construction on the south end of the dam late summer and into fall. They are updating the security lighting, fences and access card readers.


Update on the Nutrient Supplement Program

The program yielded some promising results this year. The phytoplankton appear to be about the same quantity, but their size is bigger and they are going into winter in a very healthy state.
Look for continued good Kokanee fishing this next year. Total numbers may be less than this last year, but there should be more food available leading to bigger healthy fish.

Reports are already coming in about larger fish being caught on the lake.

Nutrient barge
Here is the barge loaded with nutrients headed out.

Senator Crapo and Dworshalk crew
Senator Crapo came out to check out the progress on the nutrient project. Here he is with the Dworshak Corps of Engineers crew.
Photos by Mitch Silvers

Check out the attached excerpt from the Intercom which is the Corps of Engineers internal agency quarterly news letter. It has and excellent short write up on the nutrient project as well as other Dworshak projects. It is a very large file and will take some time to open..

Cover of the Intercom newsletter


Inside nutrient barge cab

Senator Crapo talks with Ben Perkins and Bob Kaufman of DWO maintenance crew aboard the cab of the Red Barge underway delivering fertilizer to the lake.


Cougar Fans
Great bunch of Cougar Fans on the Drift Creek Dock
Very nice meeting you!

Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinic Benefit Cruise (7/28/07)

Saturday, Hal and Deb Joseph, Hal's nephew Hunter from New Jersey, Deb's father and some friends enjoyed the day on the houseboat MaryLou swimming, dining, skiiing and tubing. Hal and Deb were the successful bidders at the benefit auction for a day cruise on the lake. The auction was the annual Clearwater Hospital fund raiser. Congrats and thanks to the Joseph's for their donation. A good time was had by all, check out the pictures!

Dworshak Master Plan Groups Working on Consensus (7/16/07)

This past Monday, night the 4 groups that have been working individually on the future of Dworshak Management met to try and bring all of their previous work together. A professional facilitator is coordinating the previous work of the Water Access, Land Access, Land Management and Land Based Recreation groups. Management guidelines were developed over the last few years on twelve areas on the reservoir by each group individually. The groups are made up of local individuals concerned about the future of Dworshak.

The goal is to bring the groups ideas together by joint problem solving and consensus. These recommendations on the future management of Dworshak Reservoir will be used by the Corps of Engineers in the development of a Master Plan which will guide future implementation of projects and improvements or lack of development on the reservoir. More information is available at Dworshak Master Plan website.

Corps places temporary fire restrictions on recreation lands around Dworshak Reservoir (7/6/07)

Recreationists planning to visit Dworshak Dam and Reservoir should be aware of fire conditions and the temporary fire restrictions. Forest fuels have reached very dry conditions. To reduce the risk of wildfires, campfires (using established fire rings only) must be completely extinguished between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. This limitation will be in effect immediately until fuel conditions change.

You can read all about the restrictions here.

Water Levels

Fish managers have called for increased flows from Dworshak due to temperature rises in the lower Granite pool and anticipated hot weather. The lake is dropping about 1 foot a day. 6/10/07

Is the reservoir a different green?

The nutrient supplement program is causing a different balance of microscopic organisms. Kokanee feed exclusively on zooplankton - tiny animals in the water. Zooplankton feed on phytoplankton, tiny plants or algae found in the water. Phytoplankton growth is dependent on both nitrogen and phosphorus.

Not all kinds of algae are dependent on water-borne nitrogen. One type, blue-green algae, is able to pull nitrogen directly from the air. But it does more harm than good. It changes the clarity and color of the water, leaves a visible film on boats and tastes bad to zooplankton. When nitrogen levels in the water drop, the good phytoplankton stop growing. The supplement program is trying to fix that.

In previous years the blue green algae (bad stuff) was dominant. Now the good guys are taking over and the water is changing it's shade of green. In a few years the Kokanee should get bigger and already (in my opinion) there is appears to be less green fuzz growing on boats and swim docks.

Read about the nutrient supplement program here:

How many kids can you get in a wading pool?


Thursday 6/21/05

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed the repair of one the Big Eddy marina anchors and cables.
All boats slips are open for customer use.

Thank you, Clearwater County Sheriff's Office, Clearwater County Search and Rescue divers and Idaho State Parks for your assistance.

Tuesday Eve 6/19/07

Barge is loaded with blocks and a buoy and ready to go and the pools full. Lets wish the Corps luck in their marina repair attempt.

Marina Update 6/19/07
Repairs could be complete on the dam gantry by Tuesday and work to re-secure the marina anchors may take place on Wednesday or Thursday. You can sort of get an idea of the size and weight of this anchor in the picture below. You really get a good idea of the weight by viewing this short video. It is a large file and may take a minute to open. Anchor movie.

Marina Update 6/14/07
The big crane on top of the dam which is critical to the dams function has a mechanical problem. One of the drive motors appears to be out, thus the crane can't move across the top of the dam. Repairs are under way right now. This will delay the Friday work on the marina until next week.

Marina Update 6/13/07
The Corps will attempt the anchor repair on the marina this Friday morning. The area will be closed due to safety concerns.
If all goes as planned they may complete the repair this weekend. They are working overtime to remedy this situation.

Rumors and Truths (6/12/07)

There has been a number of stories and statements circulating around the community about situations and happenings on the reservoir over the last couple of months. The list was presented to Dworshak Reservoir management by the DRA in hopes of getting the facts behind the stories. The management of the Corps and State were glad to get the questions and answered each item promptly with their view. We were asked to share the answers with the community. Please take some time to read their response.

The second dockluck is this Wednesday 6/20 on the Bruces Eddy destination dock. Theme this week is Food on a Stick! Stab some thing on a diish and and join in the fun. Festivities generally start at 5 PM but some folks get there earlier. Dinner starts about six.

Scuba Dave may be there in disguise.

Check outlast week.

Scuba Dave

CORPS NOTES: (6/8/07)

Corps moving to reattach Dworshak Marina anchor cable after initial test failure

WALLA WALLA, WA. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials are moving ahead with plans to reattach one of Dworshak Marinas six anchor cables after their initial efforts were unsuccessful Corps a spokesman announced today. C
An outboard main marina anchor cable at the Big Eddy Marina, Dworshak Reservoir, which is operated by Dworshak State Park, first broke free from the floating winch platform in late April due to corrosion from aging and an improper adjustment following an earlier than normal rise in the reservoir. Afterwards, Corps officials advised the State to not allow the public to use
the marina until the anchor was fixed because high winds could cause more damage and or loss of property.

According to Paul Pence, Dworshak's Natural Resource Manager, "A new anchor and cable system were designed from two 24,000 pound concrete blocks, left over from dam construction, and ¾ inch stainless steel cable. On June
6th, we positioned the anchor above the drop location and then stretched out the cable in the water by moving the floating winch platform away from the
anchor barge to take up any the slack.

"After the last ropes were cut, the anchor gently slid off the barge, however, while dropping to the bottom, the cable tightened up and accelerated the winch platform across the surface of the water, submerging the platform halfway. When it surfaced, the anchor was no longer connected.

"Although this technique had proven successful in previous years," Pence said, "the buoyancy of the winch platform apparently prevented its success this time around.

"All of us are now working feverishly to correct this and barring any unforeseen obstacles, we expect to attempt a second repair late next week if all goes well and the weather cooperates. Safety for our staff and the public is always first, so the Big Eddy boat ramp and the area surrounding the marina will be closed during the anchor deployment operation.

Corps officials will construct a new 48,000lb anchor from two more old concrete blocks, and will use one inch cable this time to secure it to a large buoy he said.

"The buoy has far less surface area resistance in the water than the winch platform, so we think this will be successful. We are committed to fixing the dock components we are responsible for as soon as feasible so the public can get back to enjoying the lake without having to maneuver down the boat ramps each time. We appreciate your continued patience while we work to
improve this important facility," Pence said.

Information regarding the marina anchor problems or other lake recreation facilities can be directed to Corps of Engineers, Natural Resources Manager, Paul Pence, at 208-476-1258 Information regarding boat slip rentals, Big Eddy Marina, Freeman Creek, or Three Meadows group camp issues can be directed to Dworshak State Park at 208-476-5994.

CORPS NOTES: (6/6/07)

Marina repair update

"We attempted to set the new marina anchor and cable this morning. The anchor was attached to the floating winch platform with enough cable for the depth. The platform was then moved away from the anchor barge to take up the slack in the line. The anchor safely left the barge, all appeared to go well. The winch platform then sped across the surface until it violently
partially submerged near where the anchor was dropped. We then realized the winch platform was no longer attached to the new anchor on the bottom. Upon investigation the both the 3/4" SS and 1/2" SS cables were broken about 120'
below the winch platform. The cable was rated at a strength of 49,600lbs. We are investigating why this happened. We are moving forward with a plan to upsize all the cable and components for a second attempt in the next week or two.

We are all really down about this failure and are working hard to get the marina back in business for the recreation season.
The patience of the community so far is very much appreciated. We feel terrible that the marina is not repaired today as planned and ask for continued patience as we re-group for round two."

Thank You,
Paul J. Pence
Natural Resources Manager
Dworshak Dam and Reservoir


Friday, June 01, 2007

Flows from central Idaho's Dworshak Dam were ratcheted down slightly Thursday and will be nearly halved this evening at the request of fish managers, who want a secured cache of reservoir water to cool Snake River reaches downstream later this summer.
(Read the whole article from the Columbia River Basin News Letter)

Swimming kids
Swimming with popsicles on the 100° Saturday!


May 16, 2007 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)

WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Senate passed a hallmark water resources legislation, commonly referred to as the WRDA bill, by a vote of 91 to 4. This important legislation authorizes important U.S. Army Corps of Engineers waterways and natural resources programs, including projects on Dworshak Reservoir.

The U.S. House passed similar legislation in April. The bill now must be reconciled with the House version before becoming law.

The text from the act referring to Dworshak is as follows:

Sec. 3042. Dworshak Reservoir Improvements, Idaho.

This section directs the Secretary to construct recreational facilities and improve existing Army Corps of Engineers and other improvements to recreation facilities at the existing Dworshak Reservoir to allow for operation at the lower pool elevations that are being experienced to assist in salmon species recovery efforts. The estimated total project cost is $5,300,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $3,900,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $1,400,000.

Senator Crapo's news release:

It is very important for the community to acknowledge this achievement. I urge you to email your Senator and Congressman to express your appreciation for their support of this important legislation and what it means to the Orofino area and Idaho. Please follow this link for the email addresses to send your support. There is even some examples of words to use in your email.

We are in the first steps of securing funds for improvements at Dworshak. If your representatives know they have a community that is behind the improvements they will pursuit them all the more. Believe me, your contacting them will help. Please take a minute and express yourself to your representative..

Please email your representative.


DRA / CORPS NOTES: (5/23/07)

Update on Marina Repair

May 23 - Update on the marina repair. The Corps has ordered all the material for the anchors, (both sides) at a total of $15,000. Some of the material will arrive this week, but most is not scheduled to arrive until after the Memorial Day weekend. The anchor blocks were moved and drilled waiting for the stainless steel supplies this past weekend. Tripco was hired with their huge rock loader to lift them.

The Corps and State Park would like to thank you marina moorage folks for your patience during in this effort.

The sun peeks out on Memorial day.


There are water safety messages on the local radio. Expect to see a lot of protection / enforcement folks on the water this weekend as well as Corps Rangers talking a water safety message. Please recall 1 year ago the carbon monoxide deaths. Please be careful while recreating this holiday weekend. Heck, be safe all the time not just on the holidays!

Dent Facilities

The electrical service upgrade has been completed at Dent. All campsites at Dent Campground are now equipped with 20/30/50 amp service. Brownouts and tripped breakers on hot days should be a thing of the past. It's not good to come home after fishing and find your camper 120 degrees and stuff melting out of the freezer.

Goose Patrol

DRA / CORPS NOTES: (5/15/07)

Master Plan Working Groups

The update of the reservoir master plan is still in the works. Over the past few years, groups of interested public and other representatives developed management criteria to be used on Dworshak. Expect information in the near future for opportunities to participate on the finalization of the working groups plans. A contract request for proposal for a professional facilitator is out and will hopefully be awarded soon.

Update 5/16: The working groups have come back to life. The final consolidation of all four working groups; Land Access, Water Access, Land Management, and Land-based Recreation Facilities, will be taking place in the very near future. A Mr. Don Nelson has been awarded the facilitation contract for the working group come together. Mr. Nelson is the same person that facilitated the Elk Collaborative for Senator Crapo. He did an excellent thorough job on that project, and is expected to do the same on this project.

Marina Cable Repairs

The Big Eddy marina had one of the anchor tensioning cables break last week. The Corps and State have done risk analysis on the continued operation of the marina and come up with a plan to fix the problem. They have asked folks to delay mooring their boats until they can remedy the situation. If your boat is there they want you to know there is an anchor malfunction and a large wind could possibly damage the marina and your boat.

The anchor cable broke due to age, repeated stress and type of material. The cable is now a galvanized cable and does not work well in water.. The plan is to replace the entire anchor system with stainless steel which is stronger and wears much better.

Outfitting new anchors and cable and setting them in place is more feasible and economical than getting deep divers to attempt to fix the current system. The state is partnering with the COE to help where they can with the cost of the repairs. They have the contract out for the materials of approximately 20K for both outboard anchor cable systems on the marina. Only one is broken at this time but it is assumed the second one has sustained the same repeated stress so it will be replaced this coming fall.

The anchors that are in place now are the same concrete blocks as the Merry's Bay blocks you see on the shoreline. Those blocks will be used for the new anchors.

Cars, Trucks, Boats and Trailers

Just to clear some things up we asked the Corps about regulations in and around the boat ramps when it comes to parking. Obviously you can't park on the ramp. You will receive a warning and possibly a citation if you do not to mention you will inconvenience all other boaters and possible have some one back a trailer into your vehicle.. Boats cannot be left at the docks at the end of the ramps unattended except for returning your vehicle to the parking lot. If you have to go to town the boat must be on your trailer or pulled up to a beach away from the ramp. If you are going to town and don't want to pull your empty trailer you can leave the trailer unattended in the lot. Trailers left there for over 24 hours will be cited.

I would also consider the ease of someone making off with your trailer if you leave it unattended for any length of time. Leaving a trailer unattached to a vehicle in the lot for any length of time is the exception.


The eagle nest is no longer active in Merry's Bay. Posted restrictions for hiking and boating in the area have been lifted. The biologist is unsure why the nest is vacated. Biologists indicate one possibility is predation but there is no clear explanation.

Merry's Bay Buoys

The Corps and State hosted a meeting May 8 to discuss the current and future of large boat moorage on the reservoir. The current buoys have encountered some problems getting tangled in the trees that are left on the bottom and they discovered that at full pool that the specs on the system may be exceeded in sustained winds of 70 mph. They added 100 feet of cable to each anchorage to boost the specs while the pool is high and will have to remove the cable as the pool drops. This is a maintenance cost that was not anticipated.

The future of large boat moorage as well as additional boat moorage in general was discussed. Mitch Silvers from Senator Crapo's office and Chris Kuykendall, Clearwater County Economic Development Specialist discussed the progress and continued planning on development of a large commercial marina on the reservoir. There are private industry folks interested but an infrastructure of power, water, sewer etc... would be necessary to move forward. Authorities and funds to do that are being pursued by Senator Crapo's office and Chris is working with them and others in that effort. Mitch encouraged folks to express their interest in the continued development of the facilities at Dworshak by contacting Senator Crapo's office by e-mail, regular mail or phone. It does help if they see the community is behind the development efforts.

Boat Registration Fees

The boat registration fee will increase next year. Starting in December it will increase by $7 bringing it up to a total of $20 for the base. Additional charges for length are then added to that base fee.

The Idaho legislature is also considering a flat fee for paddle craft, currently all the non-motorized canoes, drift boats and rafts that use all of the infra structure facilities are not paying a fee. The governor is supporting this change in boat registration fees.

Life Jackets

At a recent county Water Ways committee meeting the marine sheriff department informed us that they were surveyed by Corps of Engineers about a proposal to implement a nationwide policy of making life jackets mandatory for everyone on all waters under the jurisdiction of the Corps. The Corps national leadership has challenged the entire agency across the nation to reduce
drowning at their facilities by 40%. Mandatory lifejackets is an idea/concept that is being explored, details of the program are not worked out.

Nutrient Supplement Update

The five year fertilizer pilot project to try and reestablish a balance of base nutrients of nitrogen and phosphorous in the reservoir is under way. Presently the reservoir nutrients are out of balance and as such, microscopic zooplankton and phytoplankton are out of balance. Here is a link to the program summary and the study done by Canadian scientist, Dr. John Stockner.

First application of fertilizer was made to Dworshak Reservoir on May 10, 2007.

This project became very difficult to implement as it is new and deals with adding fertilizer to the lake. A lot of work and collaboration took place between the COE, IDFG, IDEQ, EPA, Nez Perce Tribe and the Federal Congressional offices. If this works the way we expect, all aquatic organisms in the reservoir will be healthier. One side benefit may be more food to support more and/or
bigger fish populations.

GPS control units will be placed on barges to take readings and distribute the fertilizer according to the prescription. It may take two to three years to show results. But in the mean time check out the big fish....

Big Rainbow

Arthur Downhour landed the largest rainbow trout known out of Dworshak Reservoir on April 16, 2007. This fish weighed 10.58 lbs, measured 26 inches in length and had a girth of 20 1/8 inches.

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout - Photo from Clearwater Tribune


CORPS NOTES: (4/1/07)

The eagles have landed at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir, and they are under the influence of spring. A pair of nesting bald eagles has been observed in Merry’s Bay. To help them be good parents, and to give them privacy, the Merry’s Bay Trail is closed and signs have been posted at the Merry’s Bay trailhead and the Bruce’s Eddy trailhead.

The area is also closed to boat traffic and maps of these closures are posted at all boat ramps. We request the public’s help for the “prospective” parents by respecting the temporary closures and reporting any violations to the Corps of Engineers office, Russ Davis, Wildlife Biologist, at 208-476-1203.


CORPS NOTES: (3/10/07)

-Dent boat ramp will open for the season March 10th

-Dam View, Merry's Bay,Canyon Creek and Grandad rec areas open April 1st;

-Dent early season camping opens April 12th. Peak season for Dent Acres and Dent Group camp begins May
22. Dent reservations can be made online at or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

- A highway 12 billboard is in the works to emphasize and educate on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

- Electrical service at Dent Campground and Freeman Creek campground is being upgraded on all sites to 50 amp service.
It will be available for use this spring/summer.

- Reservoir fertilization project appears to be on schedule, April start.

- Natural Resources maintenance position open, see USA Jobs.

- Eagles are back at the Merry's Bay nest exhibiting nesting behaviors.
Possible Merry's Bay trail closure again this year. (There were successfully fledged
young eagles last year!)

- Water is rising about .5 feet per day. Clearwater basin snowpack is about 85% of normal.
The accumulated water for the year is at 105%. March 31 reservoir level target is 1555.
Water level March 10 is 1541.
Full pool as most of you know is 1600.

- Maintenance crews starting to unwinterize camps.

- Underwater camera inspection of cables, and anchors for marina and
houseboat buoys will take place March 6&7.

DRA NOTES: (3/10/07)

-Water temp is 42.

-The annual first gathering of spring house boaters is planned for St. Patricks Day weekend at the
destination dock in Merry's Bay.


DRA NOTES: (1/5/07)

The Waterways committee voted Thursday to send a letter of recommendation for all three of the grants discussed below to the Grant review board in Boise.

The Dworshak State Park manager has asked for letters or e-mails of support for the wave attenuation project (marina wave break). E-mail is acceptable. They will be included in the grant proposal package. Your support of the project by e-mail would help the cause so please take a minute to offer your support. The address is

The DRA was asked for letters of support for all three projects. After discussions with the boating community / DRA members, the DRA board did send letters of recommendation for each project. The letters are available for review in WORD format below.

Wave Attenuation
Dent Ramp Dock
Sheriff Boat

The Corps of Engineers continue to pursuit the life jacket kiosks. Loaner life jackets would be available free at ramps if they can come up with funds, labor and donations of jackets. Contact the Corps of Engineers for more information.


CORPS NOTES: (4/21/06)

  • Additional Large Boat Moorage - Round 2 buoy installation to start May 1(6 more buoys), Phillips Marine from Seattle has the contract, Dworshak crew will operate barge in support.

  • Eagles - The eagles have landed at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir. Two pairs of nesting bald eagles have been observed, one near the Cold Springs Group Camp and the other in Merry’s Bay. To help them be good parents, and to give them privacy, Cold Springs Group Camp will be temporarily closed, along with approximately ½ mile of the trail to the camp. Areas posted include: the trailhead at Dent Bridge, on the trail approx. 1/4 mile east of the Cold Springs Campground, on the trail east of minicamp 12.4.

    In addition, the Merry’s Bay Trail is closed and signs have been posted at the Merry’s Bay trailhead and the Bruce’s Eddy trailhead.

    Both areas are also closed to boat traffic and maps of these closures are posted at all boat ramps. We request the public’s help for the “prospective” parents by respecting the temporary closures and reporting any violations to the Corps of Engineers office, Russ Davis, Wildlife Biologist, at 208-476-1203.

  • Vandalism - It’s the kind of scene that makes you shake your head. The public restroom and information kiosk at Canyon Creek shot by vandals. Not far from the restroom, another dismal scene, mature grand fir trees cut down.

    It’s is a sight that’s becoming all too common. Every summer defaced property at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir adds up to an ugly, expensive problem.

    Last year, it cost the taxpayers, thousands of dollars to clean up property damage left behind by vandals. Damage ranged from defaced signs, to cut fences, to spray painted structures. It took Dworshak personnel many hours to repair the damage.
    Penalties for vandalism can range from a simple misdemeanor to a Class B felony, with fines and jail time possible for severe cases.

    “We work hard to keep our recreation areas and reservoir attractive and safe for our visitors,” said Mike Deitrick, Dworshak Park Manager. “The vandalism destroys places where children and families can come and enjoy themselves. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to destroy public property just for fun. Please, if you see any damage or vandalism call the sheriff’s office at 208-476-4521 or Dworshak at 208-476-1255. Help us keep your reservoir safe, clean and free of vandalism. Keep your eyes on the property like they were your own, because it is.”

  • Facilities Open - Early season camping at Dent Acres has begun. No reservations needed and sites are $10.00 per night until May 23. Merry’s Bay day use area is open as well as Dam View Camping Area. Ramps at Grandad, Bruce’s Eddy #1, Dent Acres, Big Eddy and Freeman Creek are useable.



Tail Race Steps
  • Buoy work on the reservoir is gearing up. We expect a March delivery of products to the staging area and in April we should start contract work on the installation of the last six buoys.

  • The tailrace steps are nearing completion- we are waiting on the delivery and installation of the safety handrails.

  • Look for new "paintings" near the boat ramps in early summer. (Hint- you won't be able to miss them!)
    The USACE has a new Education Center website. This site is for students, teachers, librarians and other educators to access our many educational resources. It can be found at:



  • Work is continuing on the fishing wall steps despite the rain!

  • Dworshak Extreme Explorers- an after school program for 5th graders, sponsored by Dworshak National Fish Hatchery, Dworshak State Park and Dworshak Dam and Reservoir. Five 6th graders were brought back from last years program to be junior leaders and assist with all aspects of the meetings. Below the kids are learning how to tie the Palomar knot for fishing and learning to identify trees.

DRA NOTES: (1/12)

  • Dworshak State Park has submitted a grant request to the State Department of Parks and Recreation, with the endorsement of the Corps of Engineers and Clearwater County Waterways Board, for funds to complete an Engineering Study for a wave attenuation (break) to be placed in front of the Big Eddy Marina. The request sites the two weather events in the past that severely damaged the marina structure and boats and safety on the docks, ramp and fuel station. DRA members have been suggesting the system for years and we appreciate the current park directors positive move and progressive thinking.

  • The Corps of Engineers (COE) and Clearwater County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) will be working together this year in water safety related activities. Expect far more fun water safety presence on the destination docks and ramps this year by Ranger staff. The Corps has purchased a lot of water safety promotional stuff to give away. (Tattoos anyone?)

  • The additional large boat buoys contract is still on schedule for this spring.

  • The Corps submitted two grant requests: PFD loaner program, previously reported, would have free loaner life jackets available at the ramps for day use and a water hydrant upgrade for the Dent recreation area.

  • Waterways Board working with the COE and CCSO is looking into publishing an educational boating brochure. Information would include water safety info, water hazards, ramp etiquette and how your boating fees are processed and used through the state and county systems to enhance your recreation opportunities.


  • Slow month :)


Corps Uses Logging and Fire to Enhance Habitat (11/30)

  • Where there is smoke, there is fire, friendly fire! Billowing clouds of smoke filled the skies above Dworshak Reservoir Oct. 24-25 as fire scorched about 600 acres of woodland underbrush in the Little Bay area near Orofino, Idaho. Read the rest of the story and view a few pictures.

DRA NOTES: (11/11)

  • The Corps has started plans to place safety / rescue devices on the destination docks. They should have them in place by the next boating season. These would be throwable roped devices to rescue swimmers in distress. Also in the works is the placement of clean up tools consisting of a broom and bucket on the docks.

  • The Corps is applying for a grant to construct life jacket loaner kiosks at numerous locations on the reservoir. There would be a number of various sized life jackets available for free use and return. This safety program would make jackets available to those in need for the day.

  • The new picnic tables have arrived and are installed on the destination docks.. They were purchased with WATERWAYS funds and assembled and placed by the Corps.



  • The Eagles have left the nest and the restricted areas are no longer closed to activities.

  • The COE is waiting for the water to get low enough to cap off the Grandad ramp extension. The water has to get at least to -78 ft and then about a week of dry weather to place rip-rap rock around the parking lot and the end of the ramp. The COE was not able to complete this last year as the area never dried enough to move in heavy equipment.

    Your in put is requested:
    The new destination docks have proven to be a very popular and successful addition to our reservoir facilities. Tables have been donated by the Waterways committee and will be installed in the very near future. Question and possible poll for the website: If we were to be able to get two more docks, (No promises here, but we are working on it), where would you like them to go? Contact Paul Pence if you have an idea on the dock placements- 476-1258. Thank You!

  • Paul Pence will be starting the fourth working group, Land-based Recreation recommendations. This group will focus on potential future recreation developments around the reservoir and make recommendations for the master plan. It was decided that this fourth group was needed to compliment the recommendations already made by the Land Access, Water Access and Land Management working groups. All those interested in participating should contact Mr. Pence at 208-476-1258. The first meeting is planned to be at the IDFG Myrtle building at 6:00 PM on September 13th.

  • Contract for six additional large boat moorage buoys is in the process of being awarded with expected installation to be completed by 15 November.

  • Dent Acres Phase two electrical upgrade of the campsites is tentatively beginning in September.

  • Work should proceed this fall on the dam tailrace access steps at the fishing wall. The steps will provide a much safer access down the rip-rap to net fish caught above.

  • The COE received notice of an Off-Highway-Motorized-Vehicle, OHMV, grant award from the State of Idaho to help fund the construction of the Little Meadow Creek campsite(s). The COE and P.L.A.Y. are working together to design and build the new pilot project campsite. The site is planned to accommodate 4-wheeler size and smaller vehicles as well as boat access and will contain a vault toilet and 8 – 10 campsites. Cleanup of the old log dump has begun. Little Meadow Creek is located just off the Silver Creek Road several miles downstream from the Grandad Bridge. The site will make a nice stop over point for potential future trail systems in the area as well as a nice new campsite at the lake.

  • Fall 2005 and summer 2006 positions are open for volunteers at the Dworshak Visitor Center. Duties entail greeting visitors, stocking brochures, answering questions, giving tours (summer only), showing movies, answering the telephone. In return for volunteering, a full service campsite (within walking distance of the Visitor Center) will be provided. Contact Deb Norton at 208-476-1279.

  • The COE is very interested in working with individuals or groups that are interested in developing some type of summer low-water community event on the reservoir. August seems like the ideal month. Our goal is to get folks back out on the water during the late summer to enjoy the warm water of the reservoir. If interested, please contact Paul Pence at 476-1258.

  • Will you be traveling Highway 12 in the near future? If so, stop at the Visitor Center and pick up a set of informative audio tapes about Idaho’s Northwest Passage along Highways 12 and 13. Key sites along these highways are identified and described with the tapes and the accompanying journal. The tapes are free to use and must be dropped off or mailed back to participating agencies along the route.

  • Volunteer camp hosts are needed for Dent Acres, in exchange for a full service campsite, volunteers are needed to greet guests, answer questions and track visitation. Contact Brian Buttazoni at 208-476-1274


DRA NOTES: (7/25)

  • Lights have been installed on the Merry's Bay buoys.

  • The Corps is looking into the possibility of adding two more large destination docks.

  • Clearwater County Waterways is working with Latah County Waterways on the possibility of purchasing and providing tables on the destination docks. Layah County has agreed and this project is in motion.

    Summer time and the living is easy....
  • The marina lift project design indicated that there are insufficient funds to complete the construction at this time. The limited funds will most likely be used to add the remaining six large boat buoys in Merry's Bay as identified in the original buoy plan.

  • There is a possibility that a number of houseboats may be available for rent on the reservoir in the near future moored to some of the new buoys.

  • The reservoir water level is beginning to drop as it does every year at this time. You can read the details on the current operating plan and the justification on the Corps web site.



  • Fireworks of any kind are prohibited in all the Corps' parks and on its lands across the District.

    Restrictions aren't intended to limit visitors' ability to celebrate but rather to help all visitors have an incident-free occasion.

    The Corps and law enforcement officials will be out patrolling facilities all weekend and through the holiday,

    With the reservoir full, all mini-camp sites are available. They have all been recently cleaned and are ready for campers. The reserving of mini-camp sites along the Dworshak Reservoir shoreline is prohibited. The early placement of camping equipment at mini-camp sites to ensure a spot for the July 4th weekend can result in the removal of the camping equipment or a citation.

  • Lights for the large boat tie off buoys have been received and will be installed as soon as time allows.

DRA NOTES: (6/22)

  • The Corps of Engineers hosted a Clearwater County Development meeting and tour of the lake on Tuesday, 6/21. The probable marina sights and the lower end of the reservoir were toured. Attending the meeting were Paul Pence / COE, Chris Kuykendall / Clearwater County, Mitch Silvers Senator Crapo's Office, Kristi Stephens /Dworshak State Park, Sandy Clay Orofino Chamber of Commerce and Gord and Brenda Bushell from Three Buoys Houseboats in Sicamous, B.C. The meeting was a discussion on what facilities, infrastructure, amenities are in place or would need to be developed to facilitate the development of a large houseboat concession / marina on the lake. The Bushell's who manage a large concession / marina were offering their expertise to aid in the research and feasibility studies underway. The meeting lunch was on top of Ed and Annie Lozar's houseboat.

    Kristi, Sandy, Brenda, Gord, Chris, Mitch, Paul

DRA NOTES: (6/4)

  • Chris Kuykendall, Clearwater County Economic Development, informed me that on March 24, 2005 the City of Orofino submitted two grant proposals for a large marina feasibility study. Proposals went to USDA Rural Development – Rural Business Enterprise Grants fund and ID Commerce & Labor GEM Community Implementation grant program. They should know by mid September if awarded.

  • The corps has relocated the Merry's Bay dock slightly, moving it away from the day use area where it was tempting swimmers. The dock is about a half mile up reservoir on the east shore. Looking from the marina, it is across the lake and off to the right along the far shore about half way to Merry's Bay.



  • Another success story for wildlife at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir. A pair of nesting bald eagles have been observed near the Merry’s Bay trail. This is the third eagles nest observed along the reservoir, with the other two located near Cold Springs and Benton Creek. The Corps of Engineers is required to implement actions to minimize disturbances to the nest area and has posted the Merry’s Bay trail closed to all activities. (View a Map) We regret having to close the trail and request the public’s help for the “prospective” parents by respecting the temporary closures and reporting any violations to the Corps of Engineers office, Mike Deitrick, Park Manager, at 208-476-1256. THESE RESTRICTIONS ARE NO LONGER NECESSARY, THE EAGLES HAVE FLEDGED AND THE AREAS ARE NOW OPEN TO PUBLIC USE.

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir have received notification of grant funding from the Idaho Parks and Recreation Department for two projects. A grant for $69,770 was awarded for the completion of an upgrade to the electrical system at Dent Acres Campground. This improvement will ensure the facilities at Dent meet recreation vehicle needs today and in the future.

    In addition, a grant for $11, 184 was awarded for the purchase of a bathroom, picnic tables and campfire rings for a new Off Road Motor Vehicle campsite at the Little Meadow Creek log dump area located just downstream from the Grandad Bridge. This campsite will allow ORMV users a camping and meeting place with access to the reservoir via a designated ORMV trail from the Silver Creek Road.

  • The new large boat buoys have been installed in the Merry’s Bay area. Currently, personnel are working through the final details of the state lease agreement.

  • On May 19th regular season camping started at Dent Acres . Full hook-up sites are available for $16 per night. Reservations can be made by calling (877) 444-6777, or by visiting the website at Golden Age and Golden Access passports are accepted at Dent Acres.

    The campground at Dworshak State Park is open and taking reservations for the summer season. To make a reservation please call (208) 476-3132. Gas sales at Big Eddy Marina will be available beginning on Memorial Day weekend.
    Those seeking a more primitive camping experience can visit Dam View, Canyon Creek, Grandad campgrounds, or at one of over 100 mini-camps along the reservoir where primitive camping is available at no charge.
    For more information about the dam and reservoir contact (208) 476-1261 or (208) 476-1255. For up-to-date recorded information on reservoir levels and recreation opportunities call 1-800-321-3198.

  • An inmate crew from the Department of Corrections, under the leadership of Officer Joe Turner, reconditioned and cleared the Big Eddy trail all the way to Freeman Creek. Brush was cleared, trees were trimmed back and washouts were repaired making the trail more enjoyable and accessible for the public. In addition, the crew is helping to clean up debris at Bruce’s Eddy.

    Phillip Morin completed his Eagle Scout project by replacing a foot bridge on the Cold Springs trail approximately 1 mile from the trail head near Dent Bridge. Phillip is a member of Troop 536 (Scoutmaster- John Elsbury).

    Norm Steadman, U.S. Forest Service, helped Phillip with plans and designs for the foot bridge and helped figure the materials and supplies list. Ben Perkins, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, helped get the supplies and materials to the site and gave guidance and advice regarding installation of the bridge. Many thanks to Phillip, all of his helpers, scouts, kids and parents from Troop 536.

    Cold Springs Bridge

    Cold Springs Bridge

DRA Notes (5/5)

  • The new large boat buoys and anchors have arrived and are being installed. A crew of six Knight Construction workers on the Corps barge carefully placed anchors and attached buoys in the Merry's Bay area this week. An equipment failure or miscalculation of weight sent one anchor free flying to the bottom. No one was injured. Remedial action will have the final buoy in place this coming week. The anchors are solid Dor Mor iron weights, weighing in at 4300 lbs each. They have about 35 feet of chain on them which is held off the bottom by a submerged buoy, then 3/4 " stainless cable on up to a 5 foot diameter metal buoy.

Dor Mor anchors from Maine.

Big Buoys

More pictures of the anchors and equipment are on the photo gallery page.

The Corps barge with a Grove portable crane on board. The orange buoy is the one that holds the anchor chain off the bottom. The anchor is about 35 feet down in the water. This picture is seconds before the equipment failure sent the anchor to the bottom.



The eagles have landed at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir, and they are under the influence of spring. A pair of nesting bald eagles has been observed near the Cold Springs Group Camp. To help them become Mom and Dad, and to give them privacy, Cold Springs Group Camp will be temporarily closed, along with approximately ½ mile of the trail to the camp. Areas posted include: the trailhead at Dent Bridge, the trail just west of minicamp 14.1, on the trail approx. 1/4 mile east of the Cold Springs Campground, on the trail east of minicamp 12.4, and on the shoreline surrounding these areas. The area is also closed to boat traffic and maps of these closures are posted at all boat ramps.

The area is now posted as closed, and we request the public’s help for the “prospective” parents by respecting the temporary closures and reporting any violations to the Corps of Engineers office, Russ Davis, Wildlife Biologist, at 208-476-1203.

Early season camping has begun at Dent Acres Campground. Site fees are $10 per day by self-deposit registration. Regular season camping will start May 19th with full hook-up sites available for $16 per night. Reservations for the regular season can be made by calling (877) 444-6777, or by visiting the website at

The campground at Dworshak State Park is now open and taking reservations for the summer season. To make a reservation please call (208) 476-5994 before May 15th. Beginning May 15th the reservation number will be (208) 476-3132. Gas sales at Big Eddy Marina will be available beginning on Memorial Day weekend.

Those seeking a more primitive camping experience can visit Dam View, Canyon Creek and Grandad campgrounds, where primitive camping is available at no charge.

The day use area Big Eddy offers attractions to young and old. Big Eddy amenities include a swim beach, playground, picnic shelters and barbecue grills. The Big Eddy hiking trail is open all the way to Dworshak State Park. Take a hike along the Big Eddy trail and have a picnic at one of several minicamps along the way. The Merry’s Bay day use area offers secluded picnicking and fishing opportunities.

Turkey hunting season is here! Hunting is allowed on all Corps property around the reservoir except in developed recreation areas.

Be aware that ATV operation is prohibited off of designated roads, and behind gates or fences.

The remaining log booms and other debris in the Bruce’s Eddy/Merry’s Bay area have been removed to the furthest buoy for storage.

Anchors for the new houseboat buoys have been ordered and should be arriving this week. Knight Construction will begin assembly as soon as the products arrive.

Noxious weed spraying will begin April 11 - 15, 2005 in the area of: "A" Road, "Q" Road, Big Eddy boat launch, Bruces Eddy boat launch, Powerhouse Road, View Point Road, Visitors Center, Garco Road and building, Maintenance building, Merrys Bay, Canyon Creek Campground, Dent Acres and Dent Acres Group Camp.

The spraying of ground-sterilizing chemicals around the guardrails and rock barriers will help prevent the spread of noxious weeds and eliminate weeds in areas with high potential for seed dispersal.


VISITOR CENTER VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: (3/18/05) Work has begun on the construction of two full service campsites on the Visitor's Center Road. Individuals volunteering to work at the Visitor's Center during the recreation season will use these sites. Those interested in volunteering please contact Deb Norton at 476-1279.

WATER and the WEATHER: (3/8/05).... here is a quote from the folks that watch over the water...

"we have a pretty high likelihood of refilling Dworshak despite the current low water supply forecast. We have near a 90% chance (based on the current Water Supply Forecast (WSF) of 1.42 Million Acre Feet (MAF) of hitting full by 30 June. I also looked at the latest Extended Streamflow Prediction (ESP) forecast (that was the 44 years of weather and current conditions) and we filled to within 2 feet of full in all 44 scenarios and to within 1 foot of full in 38 of the 44 years. The ESP volumes we looked at ranged from 1.1 - 2.0 MAF."

MOORAGE: Large Boat Buoys (3/8): Bids were considered, and a contract has been awarded to Knight Construction out of Deer Park, WA. Award was $88,044.00 for 6 buoys and $12, 000 each for additional buoys. The project was a lot more expensive than first envisioned due to the size of the anchors required based on safety and design costs. Knight Construction, working with the Corps of Engineers, plan to install 6 individual buoys before May.


LARGER MARINA: (2/05) Chris Kuykendall, Economic Development Specialist, continues to work with the Corps and State on the scope of Marina. An economic analysis is needed and securing expertise for that is taking longer than anticipated.


  • Swim beach at Big Eddy has been cleared of rocks, drainage pipe reburied and extended, and new sand and sand holding devices are installed.
  • Dent boat ramp opened early, 2/18.
  • Planning underway to purchase rock to armor Grand Dad ramp and low water parking lot.
  • Although the water/snow pack is down, ~50% for basin, if precipitation is average this spring the water should be get to full or very close. A few late season snowstorms would help.
  • Off Highway Vehicle Pilot project at Little Meadow Creek is going forward, applied or a grant for supplies and materials. Call the Corps for more information.
  • Dent campground electrical upgrades will be complete for 17 sites by end of March. A second grant has been applied for to complete the project at Dent in the 05-06 year.
  • Parts are on site to refurbish the floating toilets but will take a while as the maintenance staff is spread thin.
  • Design is proceeding on a mechanized lift for the Big Eddy Marina steps and for tailrace access steps at the base of the dam
    Hopefully the tail race steps can be constructed this year.

MOORAGE: (2/05) Contract proposals for the large boat buoys have been submitted to the Corps from contractors, they plan to award a contract for buoy installation hopefully Friday 2/18 pending some final paperwork. If things go well, buoys may be in place by April.


DOCKS: (12/04) The summer and fall of 2004 marked the arrival of additional recreation docks. These are floating platforms anchored around the reservoir for boaters to dock their boats and swim, picnic and visit with friends. DRA members along with other volunteers, helped the Corps assemble a few of the docks. Some of the docks have center areas for swimming away from boat traffic. The swimming areas are very deep and life jackets are recommended. Here is a map (under construction) of the locations and a guide for using the docks.

MARINA ACCESS: (12/04) An engineering study is planned this spring to assess the feasibility of constructing a mechanized lift system at the Big Eddy Marina. The lift would be in addition to the long steps that make access to the docks difficult for some people as the water is drawn down.

MOORAGE: (12/04)Additional moorage in the form of buoys is scheduled to be placed in Merry's Bay this spring for larger boats. There is currently temporary moorage for six boats. Plans are to increase the available large boat moorage but they won't know for sure how far the funds will go until the bids come in. If all goes well there may be up to a total of twelve. If your interested in mooring a large cruiser or houseboat, please contact Dworshak State Park for more information, they manage the buoy moorage and marina

LARGER MARINA: (12/04) The Clearwater County Economic Development Team, Orofino Chamber of Commerce and the Dworshak Reservoir Association have been meeting since April with local Corps of Engineers and Idaho Parks and Recreation staff on a project, which could result in the development of a large houseboat marina facility at Dworshak Reservoir in Orofino, Idaho. This project is just getting underway. There is a lot of paperwork and public input necessary before it even starts to become a real possibility. Stay tuned for developments.

Houseboat on secluded Reeds Cr shore
Reeds Creek


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