State dam safety experts and local public works officials said Friday that despite the 100-year flood that has wrought havoc on Front Range communities and turned countless lives upside down, area dams and reservoirs have performed well and are not at risk of failing.

The one local exception to the glowing report is the Lafayette-owned Baseline Reservoir. But even though that body of water has posed some management issues in recent days, its overall integrity was termed "excellent" by that city's public works director.

"If it starts to rain like a son of a buck again, then we've got other issues -- as does everybody," said Lafayette Public Works Director Doug Short.

Short said that there are two dams at Baseline Reservoir, one on the east side and one on the north, alongside Baseline Road. The north-side dam, he said, showed some "sloughing-off" caused by the deluge Thursday, leading dam managers to put down an expanse of tarp to prevent further degradation at that point.

"And then we had public works staff stay overnight, just to be on site and walk the dam continuously, to monitor the condition and see if it sloughed off anymore," Short said.

The on-site monitoring will continue through the weekend.

Additionally, Lafayette opened outlets Friday to periodically release water at about 100 cubic feet per second into an emergency spillway along Baseline Road and into a neighboring dog park just to the east -- already inundated in past days -- to prevent the reservoir from experiencing a damaging breach.

Bill McCormick, chief of the Dam Safety Branch with the Colorado Division of Water Resources, said his staff has had personnel at Baseline, tracking Lafayette's efforts to manage it.

"We are pretty comfortable with where they're at, with the monitoring and what they've done to prevent any further degradation of that embankment," McCormick said.

Sitting at the top of Boulder Canyon at Nederland is the far larger Barker Reservoir, which is owned by the city of Boulder, as is Boulder Reservoir and Kossler Lake, an off-stream reservoir west of Flagstaff Mountain.

All three, as well as Baseline Reservoir, are designated as "high-hazard" reservoirs -- which reflects the potential consequences should they fail, rather than a rating of their safety or integrity.

A failure of Barker Dam would be catastrophic. But McCormick and Boulder officials agreed that Barker Dam and the rest of the city of Boulder's reservoirs were in good shape on Friday.

"I did talk to the utilities director. We're actually continuously monitoring all dams that are under the purview of the city of Boulder," said Mike Banuelos, spokesman for Boulder's public works department. "At this point, Barker is functioning as designed, and Barker reservoir isn't even full at this point."

McCormick, speaking of Barker and Boulder reservoirs, said, "Those are both excellent structures, and we would tend to agree with their assessment, there. We don't have any reason to dispute what they have told us."

Gross Reservoir, which is located just northwest of Walker Ranch but owned by Denver Water, is also performing well, McCormick said.

"A lot of these reservoirs were relatively low at the beginning of this cycle and now they are filling up. So they have some new loading, and that load is going to stay there, even after the rain stops and the creeks come down," McCormick said.

"So, we are going to be very much aware, and we want the public to not forget about that either. We just need to be vigilant, until we have time to get all of our post rainfall inspections and assessments done, to not let our guard down just because the sun comes out."

Dams, as part of their design, are equipped with spillways, which are used to keep their volumes within established limits. Sometimes, utilization of those spillways can trigger public concern.

"Water flowing from spillways is an unusual event at many locations, and the public may mistake spillway flows for a dam failure," said state Department of Natural Resources spokesman Todd Hartman.

"Because of the large volumes of water associated with this event, the spillway releases will likely cause or exacerbate localized flooding, creating hazardous conditions and damage."

Water was trickling over the spillway at Boulder Reservoir late Friday, Short said.

"This will go on for weeks, until we get that reservoir level down," he said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Charlie Brennan at 303-473-1327 or brennanc@dailycamera.com.