In the next two days, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to lower water releases at Gavins Point again. The dams’ output will drop from 36,000 cubic feet per second to 24,000 cubic feet per second.
“We’re trying to do what we can to lessen the flood impacts as much as we can below Gavins Point,” said John Remus, chief of the Corps Missouri River Basin Water Management Division.
As the summer began, the Corps announced their intention to run the water releases from Gavins Point Dam at a high level of between 40,000 and 45,000 cubic feet per second. There had been no plan to lower water releases. However, Remus promised to continue monitoring Missouri River conditions below the dam. Rains in southern South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa began to have an impact on tributary water flowing into the Missouri River this week.
Wednesday, Remus announced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was lowering high water releases from the Gavins Point Dam by 8,000 cubic feet per second. Wednesday night there were more heavy rains in Iowa and the southeastern corner of South Dakota. The National Weather Service forecast for the next seven days calls for another 2 to 2.5 inches of rainfall in the region.
Remus met with his staff Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon, confirming to News-Press Now the Corps would continue lowering releases from Gavins Point. At the same time, the Corps has gone further north on the Missouri River to the Garrison Dam and increased releases. The goal is to increase to 60,000 cubic feet per second by Saturday.
The increased water releases from Garrison, for now, will be stored in the Oahe Dam, Remus said.
Once conditions improve below Gavins Point, the Corps plans to start increasing water releases again.
The good news is the National Weather Service hydrology reports suggest at St. Joseph the river may not rise much above 17.1 feet. However, the Missouri River at Brownville, Nebraska, remains at a bit more than a foot above the 33-foot flood stage. Levee districts and area farmers will continue to monitor Missouri River conditions throughout the region.