Latest Kansas City District Info

Learn About the Lake

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers planned, designed, constructed, and today manages Melvern Lake, located in east central Kansas. The Corps of Engineers is authorized to operate Melvern Dam and Lake to benefit the nation by providing flood damage reduction, recreation, water supply storage, fish and wildlife management, and downstream water quality improvement.

Melvern Lake was designed, constructed, and is operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Operations and maintenance activities are conducted out of the Project Office and Information Center, which is located at the east end of the dam. Melvern Lake’s staff has a wide variety of responsibilities including:


  1. Dam Operations and Maintenance - Duties include operation of the outlet gates which control the flow of water from the lake to the river, and maintenance of the dam, control tower, stilling basin and spillway.
  2. Park and Campground Operations and Maintenance - The Corps operates and maintains five parks at Melvern Lake. Each park containing a campground. Operation and maintenance activities include: Camping and day use fee collection; visitor assistance and protection; operation and maintenance of electrical, water supply and sewage treatment systems; maintenance of roads, parking lots, campsites, boat ramps, various buildings and picnic shelters and courtesy docks; and park area mowing and tree maintenance.
  3. Natural Resource Management activities including fish and wildlife, and cultural resource management.
  4. Service Contracts – A large portion of the maintenance and administrative services at Melvern Lake are provided by small business contractors. These contracts included but are not limited to: park mowing, park attendants, park custodians, vegetative management, and refuse collection.

Melvern Lake’s staff is supplemented by a small staff of temporary employees and a variety of contractors during the busy recreation season. There are also several other organizations involved in lake area operations.

  • Kansas Wildlife and Parks - Enforces State fish and game laws and provides fisheries and wildlife management for the lake.
  • Osage County Sheriff's Department - Enforces the laws of the State of Kansas and provides additional park security through a contract with the Corps of Engineers during the recreation season.