The US Army Corps of Engineers constructed and operates Perry Dam. Located on the Delaware River in Jefferson County, Perry Lake is the fourth largest lake in the state of Kansas. The Delaware River and its tributaries Slough Creek, Rock Creek, and Evans Creek provide the inflow and valleys that form the lake area. The lake possesses over 160 miles of shoreline, 25,389 acres of flood control pool, 11,150 surface acres of multipurpose pool, and controls a drainage area of about 1,117 square miles in the comparatively humid region of northeast Kansas. Flood protection includes over three thousand acres downstream of the dam along the Delaware River and contributes to the protection of the Kansas River, Missouri River, and the Mississippi River. The communities of Perry, Lawrence, Bonner Springs, and Kansas City benefit from the flood control protection.
The dam consists of a rolled earth-fill embankment about 7,750 feet long, constructed to an elevation approximately 95 feet above the streambed with gated outlet works and a gated chute-type spillway in the left abutment. The outlet works is located in the center of the dam and includes several features. The outlet conduit, which is 23.5 feet in diameter and 564.25 feet long, extends through the earth embankment with approach and outlet channels. It is preceded by two rectangular passages of 11.75 feet wide and 23.5 feet high. Each passage contains an emergency gate and a service gate. Both gates are hydraulically operated. Discharges enter a concrete stilling basin immediately downstream of the outlet conduit. Two rows of staggered baffle blocks reduce the velocity of the water before it goes into the outlet channel. The intake structure and control tower contain all of the operating machinery and equipment.
The Perry Project Staff maintain the lake for the purpose of providing flood control, water storage, and recreation. The staff maintains nearly 39,311 acres of land for recreation and wildlife management. Over 11,000 acres of water provides many challenges in fisheries management for the State of Kansas.
The staff conducts dam safety inspections and maintains the dam and outlet works. Corps employees make water release changes to the Delaware River in coordination with the Kansas City District Water Control Section and the Missouri River Region Reservoir Control Center.
Eight parks around the lake are managed for day use and camping. These parks include paved roads, common utilities, campsites, designated beaches, boat ramps, fish cleaning stations, and picnic areas. Contract gate attendants are in residence at four of the Corps park facilities during the recreational season. Park Rangers routinely provide visitor assistance throughout the recreational season.
Many maintenance activities are contracted to the private sector. Mowing, trash collection, fee collection, facility cleaning, and noxious weed control are just a few of the activities performed by private contractors.
Several agricultural leases exist throughout the lake region. Benefits of such leases include erosion control and wildlife management.
Other activities include public relations, real estate management, collection of weather data, native grass management, wildlife food plot establishment, rescue and recovery operations, flood emergency assistance, park patrol, boat dock inspections, and management of concession leases.