Corps water managers are closely monitoring plains snowmelt runoff in South Dakota and North Dakota and adjusting releases at the mainstem projects to balance inflows, rising reservoir levels, and downstream conditions.
The mountain snowpack, which usually peaks around April 15, remains average. By April 1, 97 percent of the snowpack accumulation has normally occurred.
“The mountain snowpack continues to accumulate at a near average rate. We are beginning to see the runoff from the plains snowmelt in the upper basin,” said John Remus, chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Water Management Division.
Fort Peck Dam
Inflow: 39,000 cfs (unchanged in the last 24 hours)
Release: 6,600 cfs (unchanged in the last 24 hours)
Pool elevation: 2236.25 feet (up 0.3 foot in the last 24 hours)
Inflow: 67,000 cfs (unchanged in the last 24 hours)
Release: 12,800 cfs (unchanged in the last 24 hours)
Pool elevation: 1838.37 feet (up 0.3 foot in the last 24 hours)
Inflow: 97,000 cfs (unchanged in the last 24 hours, up from 78,000 cfs March 24)
Release: daily average 3,700 cfs (unchanged in the last 24 hours)
Pool elevation: 1610.23 feet (up 0.6 foot in the last 24 hours)
Notes: The pool is expected to experience a noticeable rise over the next three weeks due to runoff from plains snowmelt.
Big Bend Dam
Inflow: 20,000 cfs (unchanged in the last 24 hours)
Release: 19,000 cfs (down 2,000 cfs in the last 24 hours)
Pool elevation: 1420.84 feet (unchanged over the last 24 hours)
Notes: Big Bend is a re-regulation project and has very little flood control storage.
Fort Randall Dam
Inflow: 65,000 cfs (down 7,000 cfs in the last 24 hours)
Release: 8,000 cfs (unchanged in the last 24 hours)
Pool elevation: 1362.04 feet (up 1.2 feet in the last 24 hours)
Notes: Pool elevations at Fort Randall will be monitored and releases will be adjusted to decrease the chances of entering the exclusive flood control zone, which would require larger system releases from Gavins Point Dam.
Gavins Point Dam
Inflow: 25,000 cfs (up 2,000 cfs in the last 24 hours as releases from Fort Randall reach the Gavins Point reservoir. Inflows primarily from the Niobrara River are averaging between 18,000-20,000 cfs.)
Release: 30,000 cfs (up 3,000 cfs in the last 24 hours and will be incrementally increased 3,000 cfs Wednesday and Thursday to coincide with scheduled increases at Fort Randall Dam.)
Pool elevation: 1207.52 feet (down .05 foot in the last 24 hours. The reservoir set a record pool elevation of 1212.3 feet on March 13.)
Notes: Gavins Point Dam is a re-regulation project with very little flood control storage. An aerial reconnaissance of the lower Niobrara River indicates there is a lot of water stored in the Niobrara River’s flood plain. The headwaters of the Niobrara are in eastern Wyoming and the remaining snowpack is beginning to melt. Niobrara River stream gages are indicating that flows are beginning to increase.
The three-week regulation forecast was released yesterday. http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/reports/twregfcast.pdf
Release schedules are subject to change as basin conditions change.
“Our next official runoff forecast will be released April 1. The entire Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System has 14.0 million acre-feet (MAF) of the 16.3 MAF of flood control storage available to store upper basin runoff. As the temperatures in the upper basin warm up and the remaining plains snowpack melts, increased pool levels and inflows are expected,” said Remus.
The National Weather Service is the official forecasting agency for the US Government – the public should look to the NWS for forecasts and flood warnings at https://www.weather.gov/mbrfc/.
Gavins Point release changes take two to three days to reach Omaha, three to four days to reach Nebraska City, and four to five days to reach Kansas City, Missouri.
Some meeting venues has been changed in anticipation of greater participation at the Missouri River Water Management Division’s spring public meetings.
The Nebraska City meeting is set for 4 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at the Fox Center Event Space, 424 Central Ave.
The Corps has established a webpage at http://go.usa.gov/xE6fC (the URL is case sensitive) that can be saved to your mobile phone’s home screen. This webpage provides links to the most up-to-date information from the Corps, including runoff and release schedules, links to the Omaha and Kansas City Districts, links to social media accounts, and a link to the National Weather Service, Missouri Basin River Forecast Center. The Corps has also provided links to the “App” on Facebook and Twitter.