With most of the snowpack gone in the upper Benson Creek watershed, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will start drawing down Chalfa Dam this week in preparation for rebuilding the spillway.

The project engineer for WDFW said they would keep an eye on the flow in Benson Creek and its effect on downstream property.

Chalfa Dam (sometimes called Wenner Lake) is the highest of what had been a string of five lakes in the upper Benson Creek watershed. The spillway failed in August 2014 after heavy rains caused erosion on steep slopes above the dam. The area burned earlier that summer, leaving little vegetation to hold soil and other debris in place.

Construction of a 40-foot spillway, 10 times the size of the old one, is expected to begin the week of May 9 and to last a couple of months, according to WDFW.