County Looks to Recoup Costs for Boaters

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VENETA, Ore. — Low water levels at Fern Ridge Reservoir have Lane County leaders looking for ways to recoup costs for boaters.

The county and Army Corps of Engineers are working to address the problem.

With record low rainfall, the boating season hasn’t looked good. Lane County leaders are addressing ways to help those boaters get their money back.

We’re 15 inches below average for rainfall. You could say boaters aren’t happy.

“They got the low water blues,” said Scott Coleman, Underway LCC owner.

Those blues have kept many boaters off the waves and even kept their boats from docking. But Lane County wants to help those who’ve already put in their deposits for the season.

“We’re hoping as many moorage holders as possible come out tomorrow so we can talk to each one about their situation and what we can do to help them,” said Mike Russell, Lane County Parks Division Manager.

Wednesday night Lane County Parks and the Corps of Engineers will join forces. The Corps of Engineers will focus on the outlook for the future of the reservoir.

“Normally it doesn’t happen that we fail to fill the reservoirs. I think this has happened three times in the last 10 or 15 years. Once was in 2000, but it certainly wasn’t this low,” said Wes Messinger, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Botanist.

If you are out on the water, both groups warn to be on the lookout for debris.

“There’s a lot of debris on the bottom of the lake, and so people need to be careful when they’re going out on the mud,” Russell said.

Luckily for boaters who are still itching to get out on the water, they’ll be able to look at a chart, which breaks down the water levels of the entire reservoir.

“In the purple area, less than three and a half feet and then right along the shore line you could ordinarily park boats right in here. This year a couple feet of water, it’s not going to work,” Coleman said.

Coleman says the county definitely has their hands full.

“It’s somewhat of a complex problem being presented to the county, and they’re trying to work out a solution,” Coleman said.

The Army Corps of Engineers says we could lose another foot and a half of water by the end of boating season.

The meeting is Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in Harris Hall, in the Public Service Building downtown. It’s open to the public.

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  1. quasimodo says:

    how about they look into paying boaters back that have to pay to launch their boats at country parks when they have already paid an access fee thru their oregon state marine board tags?

    the county gets money from the marine board to maintain those boat ramps yet they charge boaters that have tags on their boats to launch

    how about one of you news people looking into that ?

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