Detroit Reservoir reached its highest water level since 2009 last week and hit what’s considered its “full” water level for the first time in two years.
A system of heavy rain — following what’s been one of the wettest seasons on record — pushed the reservoir to 1,565.29 feet on Wednesday.
That’s the highest mark since May 4, 2009, when the reservoir’s elevation hit 1,566.64 feet. It was also the first time the reservoir reached the level considered “full” for summer, 1,563.5 feet, since 2014.
The past two years, historic drought and limited spring rain kept the reservoir’s level lower than normal, impacting tourism and recreation.
Normally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wouldn’t let the reservoir get so high this early in the season. They typically keep more space open for flood control in late April.
The Corps will now draw the reservoir down slightly with the goal of hitting 1,563.5, where it should stay throughout the summer, on May 5. That level is considered the full summertime water level and allows all the docks to be in place.
“We are optimistic that it will be a great recreation season,” said Salina Hart, chief of reservoir regulation and water quality for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We expect most of the boat ramps to be usable until the end of summer.”
The water level at Detroit has become a hot button issue in recent years.
Business owners blamed the Corps for dumping too much water last spring, leading to a summer season that only reached a height of 1,554 feet and left docks on dry ground earlier than normal.
The year before, 2015, a historic drought brought the reservoir to its lowest summertime level in history, 1,511 feet in early summer and as low as 1,425 feet by autumn.