The US Army Corps of Engineers manages 13,250-acre Harlan County Lake and an additional 17,750 acres of land surrounding the lake. The staff conducts dam safety inspections and maintains the dam and outlet works. Corps employees make water release changes to the Republican River in coordination with the Kansas City District Water Management Section.
Six parks around the lake are managed and maintained by the Corps of Engineers. These parks include roads, utility systems, campsites, beaches, boat ramps, fish cleaning station and picnic grounds. Many maintenance activities are contracted to the private sector. Mowing, trash collection, fee collection, and facility cleaning are just a few of the activities that are performed by private contractors for the Corps. The Corps of Engineers manages the natural resources of Harlan County Lake in cooperation with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission through several techniques. Some of the land has been restored to native grassland, while other areas are leased for agricultural purposes, with wildlife management being a central theme. Other activities by the Corps include public relations, visitor services, real estate management, emergency services, collection of weather data, tree planting, prairie management, rescue and recovery operations, park patrol, buoy maintenance and management of concession leases.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the responsibility for managing the 31,000 acres of land and water surrounding Harlan County Lake. Lands around the lake are managed by the Corps of Engineers to preserve their natural value. Land management practices such as prairie restoration, prescribed burning and tree planting help conserve soil and benefit wildlife.
Harlan County Dam controls a drainage area of 7,164 square miles and is part of a network of Corps Lakes that help control flooding on the Republican, Kansas, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.