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Levee leaks concern

Homeowners near Marina No. 2 notified; some water going into field

By Megan Doyle, Herald and News 5/30/08
Two spring-like leaks in the bott om of a n earthen levee by Moore Park Marina No. 2 have officials worried about a possible dike failure that could flood property with water from Upper Klamath Lake.
   One leak appeared on Saturday. By Thursday afternoon, a second leak developed about 12 feet away, said Klamath County Emergency Services manager Bill Thompson. So far, both are producing clear water, a sign that erosion that could further cause a levee failure isn’t happening.
   “It’s not a bad situation yet, but we don’t want it to get there,” Thompson said.
   In June 2006, waters from Upper K lamath Lake surged through a 200-foot gap in the Geary d i ke, f lood i ng 2 ,0 0 0 acres of farmland, closing Highway 140 for days and damaging the Running Y Ranch and Resort golf course. The breach caused millions of dollars in damage. From page A1
   Residents of the area near Lakeshore Drive and Marina No. 2 were notified of the situation by letter Thursday night. Thompson said he doesn’t want to surprise anyone if the levee breaks and homes need to be evacuated.
   “This is the time when we have melts, we’ve had some rains and it’s coming up,” Thompson said about the lake level.
   Water going into field
   The levee leaks are in the southwest corner of the lake, in the Lakeshore Garden Drainage District, which serves about 70 people. The water from the leaks is going into a pasture, but houses within 50 yards would be impacted if the levee fails, Thompson said.
   Bill Cox, who lives near the Moore Park levee, said the levee has never failed before and he doesn’t want to see it fail now.
   “We’re trying to keep af loat out here,” he said, knowing that levee failures are possible in the Basin.
   Thompson, too, wants to be prepared.
   “I hate surprises,” he said.
   The Bureau of Reclamation is releasing about 500-cubic feet per second of water from the lake down the river because of the high lake level, said Kevin Moore, bureau spokesman.
   The agency has not filled the lake this year and is not expecting to with the water it stores and releases from Iron Gate Dam.
   Corps of Engineers
   The levee near Moore Park was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is in need of repairs, Thompson said.
   He called the Corps of Engineers to notify them of the leak, get an inspection and find out what can be done. So far, the agency said it doesn’t have the resources or funding to do so, Thompson.
   Thompson will address the Klamath County Commissioners at 9 a.m. today on the status of the levee and ask for the commissioners’ support in getting assistance from the Corps.
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