Osoyoos Lake rising rapidly, town closes marina and boat launches

Osoyoos Lake rising rapidly, town closes marina and boat launches - image

The Town of Osoyoos is closing its marina and boat launches on Wednesday as a safety precaution as lake levels continue to rise at a rapid pace.

Osoyoos Lake levels are monitored by the US Geological Survey near Oroville, WA.

As of noon on Tuesday, the water surface elevation was 914.54 feet.

Town of Osoyoos Director of Corporate Services Janette Van Vianen said the lake peaked at 914.8 feet last year.

READ MORE: Osoyoos Lake rapidly rising, motel row beachless

“There is an expectation that we will exceed last year’s height of the lake. What we don’t know is how much higher it will get because it really does depend on how fast the snowpack comes down.”

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Van Vianen said residents and businesses around Osoyoos Lake in low level areas should be sandbagging immediately.

Sand and sandbags are available at the following locations:

Van Vianen said there are no reports of flooding yet.

The Town of Osoyoos is also requesting watercraft to stay ashore or be mindful regarding the wave action on shoreline properties.

Osoyoos Lake levels rising rapidly. Courtesy: USGS

“We are asking people that if they are on the lake on their watercraft to be very mindful of the fact that wave action could cause problems for people in the low-lying areas,” Van Vianen said.

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READ MORE: Flooding a concern in southern BC

Boaters are also cautioned that there is minimal clearance under the bridge and strong undercurrents.

“Travel under the bridge should be avoided or must be done using extreme caution,” said a bulletin issued by the town on Tuesday.  

Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Ecology says the Zosel Dam in Oroville, Wash., is wide open and there is twice as much water coming into the lake than can exit.

“Once Zosel dam gates are wide open, as they have been since late March, the lake must seek its own level when runoff is high throughout the system,” said Al Josephy with Ecology’s water resources program in Olympia.

“This can mean people may see some flooding to property along the lake and down to the site of the dam itself.”

Lake levels are mandated by the International Joint Commission (IJC), a board made up of representatives from the United States and Canada.

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