Thurmond Lake levels drop likely to affect boat ramps, expose hazards

Larry Carter prepares to launch his 21-foot boat at the former Little River Marina ramp near Leah. The reservoir, already 12 feet low, is expected to fall two more feet by December, rendering many ramps unusable.

Thurmond Lake’s water levels are likely to fall two feet or more by December, idling as many as half of the reservoir’s 80 boat ramps.

The dwindling reservoir has not reached full pool – 330 feet above sea level – since Feb. 13, 2010, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers records. Its highest level this year was 322.52 on March 3; Friday’s level was just 317.67.

With the lake 12 feet low, launching is already difficult or impossible at about 30 ramps, the corps’ estimates. If the lake falls to 315 feet above sea level by mid-December, as projected in the corps’ newest forecast, about 20 more ramps would be idled.

Low water increases the potential for accidents.

“During extreme low water conditions such as those we are currently experiencing, small trees, sand bars, and stumps are exposed, creating hazards for recreational boaters,” the corps warned in a recent advisory. “The vast majority of these hazards are not near the marked channels.”

If boaters find a hazard in a main channel, they should notify the project office at (800) 533-3478.

Boat ramp elevations and level at which launching becomes difficult
Boat ramp closing list
Real time water level data and projections

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