WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Safety of Dams and the Navajo Safety of Dams Program has activated Tsaile Dam's Emergency Action Plan by initiating a Level One Alert. This is due to Tsaile Lake exceeding its restriction level of 7,023 feet and because of water being released from Tsaile Dam. The release of water is compounded by additional water from snowmelt run-off from the area.
The release of water from Tsaile Dam requires the closure of BIA Roads N 8077 and N 8089 at the road crossing of Tsaile Dam Spillway. Chinle Agency BIA Roads Department is rerouting traffic until the lake elevation has dropped at least two to four feet below the restriction level, according to Safety of Dams.
With the release of water, the downstream flow is expected to be six times the normal amount of water and will cause erosion to roads and stream banks. As of April 21, the combined flow rate of all runoff/water release is estimated at 300-400 cubic feet per second at the mouth of Canyon de Chelly Park. One cubic foot is approximately equal to the size of a regulation basketball. The public is advised to obey precautions for their own safety.
This alert is for residents and building owners living downstream of Tsaile Creek, Wheatfields Creek and Whiskey Creek in Canyon de Chelly, Canyon del Muerto and Chinle areas. People in this area should be alert to increased water flows, Tsaile Route N8077 road closure and other impacts due to the increased snowmelt runoff and water release from Tsaile Dam.
For more information contact Brenda Hatathlie at (928) 206-9488/(928)551-4429 and Darrell Paul at (928) 205-9028. Additional points of contact are Pearl Chamberlin at (505)870-1851 and Chuck Nixon at (505) 870-1487.