Reclamation increases releases from McKay Dam

Media Contact: Michael Coffey, 208-378-5020,

For Release: April 13, 2019

PENDLETON, Ore.—The Bureau of Reclamation is increasing flood control releases out of McKay Dam. Outflows from the dam are currently 2,000 cfs and will be ramped up to 2,500 cfs at 8:00 a.m. PDT. The water in the system is still high, and more precipitation is expected. Flooding is probable in areas along McKay Creek with the increased releases.

The decision to increase releases was made in close coordination with the Umatilla County Sheriff, Umatilla County officials, the City of Pendleton, and the National Weather Service. This interagency team is successfully working together to help map out the way to ensure the safety of area residents.

Reclamation officials are advising the public adjacent to McKay Creek to be aware of the potential danger associated with McKay Creek flows, and to avoid McKay Creek and take necessary precautions. The water is cold and can be deep and fast in various locations. Extreme caution should be used near the river banks.

“We urge those affected by flooding to remain vigilant because these rain events continue to make conditions worse,” said Sean Kimbrel, Umatilla Field Office manager.

These flood control releases are designed to create space in the reservoir to accommodate possible future precipitation or other circumstances that could cause adjustments to the reservoir such as a continued pattern of wet weather conditions.

Releases out of McKay Dam are subject to change based on the changing spring time weather conditions, and updated inflow forecasts for McKay Creek.

For real-time McKay Creek flow information from McKay Dam, visit

Additional information can be found at the Umatilla County Emergency Management Office website at, and the City of Pendleton website at

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.