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Post-Construction History

Project History Post-Construction History
Floods and DroughtsNaming of Tuttle Creek Dam 

When work commenced on construction of Tuttle Creek Dam, in 1952, the premise was the Tuttle Creek Lake would be a "dry dam" passing inflows on through to the river below the dam, except in flood situations. No water conservation, or any other uses for that matter, were originally envisioned. No recreational facilities were planned.

A prolonged drought in 1952 and 1953, combined with the need for improved flow on the Kansas River, and an expressed desire for recreational development, prompted Congress to remove the "dry dam" restriction in 1957.

An economic justification study was made in 1957. Substantial benefits were found for the uses of water quality, recreation, and navigation. It was assumed in the study that conservation releases would be made primarily for water quality control on the Kansas River and for supplemental flow for navigation on the Missouri River.

The Tuttle Creek Reservoir Regulation Manual was prepared in 1966. It found that demands for good quality water in the Kansas River Basin would increase tremendously over the coming years. A normal minimum release was set at 100 cubic feet per second (cfs), except during extreme droughts, when the minimum would be reduced to 25 cfs. Releases would be made to supplement low flows on the Kansas River as an aid to maintaining water quality standards and sustained flow at Topeka and Bonner Springs. Storage for navigation purposes would be limited to that storage above 1072 during the recreation season.

Further, during sport-fish spawning periods, special effort would be made to hold the lake at a stable or slowly rising level.

The primary lake regulation objective at Tuttle Creek Lake is flood control. Secondary objectives are navigation, water quality, recreation, and fish and wildlife enhancement. These will be achieved insofar as practicable without detriment to the primary purpose.