Low water in Utah challenging boaters’ holiday weekend plans

People put a jet ski in the water next to a boat ramp that is closed due to low water at the Willard Bay North Marina.

People put a jet ski in the water next to a boat ramp that is closed and has an abrupt drop-off due to low water at the Willard Bay North Marina in Willard, Box Elder County, on Monday, July 19, 2021. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Houseboats being impacted at Lake Powell

Water levels at Lake Powell have declined so much that multiple boat ramps are closed and owners of houseboats have until Saturday to remove their vessels from the Wahweap Main site, which is now closed to launching any houseboats.

At Wahweap Main, motorized vessels can be still be launched, but officials are advising that only four-wheel drive vehicles be used because other vehicles are experiencing difficulties on the loose gravel.

Would-be water recreationers should check out the National Park Service’s website for Lake Powell to get information on current ramp closures.

“It’s rough,” said Kendall Neisess, acting public information officer. “It’s ruining a lot of people’s plans, for sure.”

She added it may be that the Wahweap Main boat launch will have to close sometime in August.

Bullfrog remains open for houseboats.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Signs warn boaters of low water at the Willard Bay South Marina in Willard, Box Elder County, on Monday, July 19, 2021.

Elsewhere around Utah, the protracted drought has forced the closure of boat ramps at seven Utah state parks. Both ramps at Willard Bay are closed. Millsite Reservoir in Emery County is closed, as is the Antelope Island Main Ramp, Echo’s Main Ramp, Piute’s Main Ramp and Painted Rocks at Yuba. Oasis’ ramp at Yuba remains open.

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At Weber County’s Pineview, the Anderson Cove launch site has also been closed due to low water levels.

Multiple other launching sites in the state park system are under an advisory, which means boaters should exercise extreme caution when launching.

Those include: Red Fleet, Rockport, Rock Cliff at Jordanelle, Gunlock’s Main Ramp in Washington County, the Great Salt Lake Marina’s Main Ramp and Rendezvous Beach at Bear Lake.

The Utah Department of Natural Resources reported last week that 26 of Utah’s largest 42 reservoirs are below 55% of their capacity and some of the state’s most popular recreation hot spots such as Willard, Strawberry, Deer Creek and Pineview are at storage levels below where they were at the end of last year’s irrigation season.

State water managers are no longer using water from this year’s runoff season but are instead dipping into emergency supplies left over from previous years.

On Tuesday, the Utah Division of Water Resources announced in a tweet that the Great Salt Lake had tied the record low set in 1963, and it is expected to drop below that level in the coming days.

Great Salt Lake elevation has tied the record low set in 1963. It’s expected to drop below the record in the coming days. Once the daily average drops to 4191.3 for several consecutive days and the provisional data is vetted, the new low will be official. #slowtheflow #drought

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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