Cave Lake water levels to be lowered temporarily while dam rehabilitation project is underway

Cave Lake - Ely, NV (White Pine County)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NDOW

by Nevada Department of Wildlife

Ely, NV- Commencing this month, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), in coordination with the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR) and the Nevada Division of State Parks (NDSP), will be undertaking a rehabilitation project to restore and repair the Cave Creek Dam at Nevada’s Cave Lake State Park. As part of the initial phase of this project, the water level of Cave Lake will be temporarily lowered by approximately one-third of its current surface area to allow for work necessary to stabilize the dam and complete needed repairs. Upon completion of the full project, the lake’s water level will gradually return to its normal surface level. NDOW is working to determine a specific timeline for the full rehabilitation, which will depend on weather conditions and funding. Status updates for visitors to Cave Lake State Park will be available online at

During construction, Cave Lake State Park will remain open to the public, and visitors can continue to enjoy kayaking, fishing, swimming, and other recreational activities. The lake will remain easy to access, and the health of area fish and wildlife will not be impacted. The fish will occupy a smaller area within the lake, potentially improving catch rates. The boat dock, however, will be closed for the duration of the project.

While there are no immediate safety issues, NDOW, as the owner of Cave Lake Dam, has identified necessary improvements that will help ensure the long-term integrity of the dam and continued recreational access to beautiful Cave Lake State Park. Originally constructed in 1932, Cave Creek Dam’s aging infrastructure, coupled with findings from a recent engineering assessment, indicate that the dam needs repair and improvements to help accommodate extreme weather and storm events. The Cave Creek Dam rehabilitation project includes enhancing the overall stability of the dam with an expanded spillway, increased stormwater storage capacity, advanced technology, and other necessary long-term improvements. NDOW is working closely with both the Nevada Division of State Parks and Nevada State Engineer’s Office to ensure visitors are still able to enjoy Cave Lake State Park during construction and that the dam repairs meet the highest safety and engineering standards.

“The Nevada Department of Wildlife, together with its partners, is committed to ensuring all Nevadans and visitors can continue to enjoy the myriad recreational opportunities and natural splendor that Cave Lake State Park has to offer,” said NDOW Chief Engineer Rodd Lighthouse. “We appreciate your understanding as we complete these important upgrades at Cave Creek Dam to help ensure safe, memorable, and amazing recreational experiences for all.”
Please refer to the attached map to view the projected water levels. The blue and green lines represent the approximate surface levels after the water is lowered.

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