Army Corps to draw down reservoirs at Francis E. Walter Dam and Blue Marsh Lake in advance of Hurricane Ida

USACE Philadelphia District
Published Aug. 30, 2021

The U.S. Army Corps Engineers Philadelphia District has announced it will draw down the reservoirs at Blue Marsh Lake and Francis E. Walter Dam in preparation for significant forecasted rainfall associated with Hurricane Ida. Blue Marsh Lake is located on the Tulpehocken Creek, a tributary of the Schuylkill River, about four miles northwest of Reading, Pa. Francis E. Walter Dam is located at the confluence of the Lehigh River and Bear Creek in Luzerne and Carbon Counties, Pa.

Reservoir drawdowns are being conducted to create additional flood control capacity in the reservoirs.

  • At Blue Marsh Lake, the reservoir will be lowered to elevation 285 ft NGVD (its normal winter elevation) down from the normal summer pool level of elevation 290 ft NGVD.
  • At Francis E. Walter Dam, the reservoir will be lowered to elevation 1345 ft NGVD from the summer recreation level of elevation 1370 ft NGVD.  USACE will reevaluate Tuesday morning to determine if additional capacity is needed and additional drawdowns are warranted.  

Blue Marsh Lake was constructed in 1979 and has prevented more than $100 million in flood damages in the Schuylkill River basin. Francis E. Walter Dam was constructed in 1961 and has prevented more than $245 million in flood damages.

Steve Rochette

Release no. 21-024