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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 30, 2013:
LAKE ROBERTS DAM IMPROVEMENT PROJECT TO BEGIN SOON
SILVER CITY – A project to improve the dam and spillway at Lake Roberts, a popular fishing and camping destination in southwestern New Mexico, is scheduled to begin this week as the Department of Game and Fish starts to lower the water level about 10 feet.
The lake and the Gila National Forest campgrounds and picnic area will remain open during the construction, estimated to take about one year. Fishing opportunities and access to the shoreline may be limited, and the boat ramp will be closed as the water level drops over the next month. The portion of the lake around the dam and spillway will be closed for the duration of the project.
The Department of Game and Fish will monitor fish health during the project to determine whether to relax fishing bag limits to avoid fish going to waste. Once the project is finished, the lake will be refilled and restocked with fish.
The $6.5 million project is designed to make the dam and spillway better able to withstand extreme flooding events. The plan is to replace the existing spillway, construct a secondary 70-feet-wide spillway, and raise the dam eight feet. Sportsmen are paying for the project through license fees and federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and boat fuel.
Mike Gustin, assistant chief of lands for the Department of Game and Fish, said the state engineer has indicated that the dam could be vulnerable if a major flood were to come down Sapillo Creek. Since the dam was completed in 1963, a small town has taken roots along the tailwaters. The improvements will help the dam withstand a major flood.
The dam at Lake Roberts is one of 11 dams owned and maintained by the State Game Commission and the Department of Game and Fish. The others are Eagle Nest, Bear Canyon, Jackson, McGaffey, Laguna del Campo, Fenton, Hopewell, Snow, Quemado and Clayton lakes. All are scheduled for different degrees of upgrades over the next four years.
For more information about the Gila National Forest recreation sites at Lake Roberts, please contact Wilderness District Ranger Ray Torres at (575) 536-2250.