The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discussed the likelihood of flooding for the remainder of the summer.
The Missouri River Basin Forecast Center’s Hydrologist Kevin Low summarized the possibilities going forward.
“The entire eastern portion of the Missouri Basin — extending from South Dakota all the way down to the Missouri, the soils are wet,” said Low. “We remain vulnerable to continued flooding well into the summer. I would say that we have an enhanced risk.”
This doesn’t simply include the area around the Missouri River, but the larger area.
“We’re saying moderate level flooding and many of the tributaries to the Missouri River, and the Missouri River itself,” Low said.
The mountain snowpack that runs into the river typically peaks near April 15, according to Kevin Grode. He’s the team leader for the Corps’ reservoir regulation. He agreed with Low’s assessment that the river is susceptible to flooding because the soil is wet.
Mike Swenson is the power production team leader for the Corps. He discussed the endangered birds, piping plover and least tern, and the pallid sturgeon, a river fish. All three have received attention from the Corps in the past, as they are one of eight priorities.
The spring pulses put in place to aid the pallid sturgeon have been removed from the Corps’ revised master manual.
Dan Cassidy with the Missouri Farm Bureau asked about whether the flooded farmland was being considered.
“With regard to (Missouri’s) four counties; Platte, Atchison, Holt, and Buchanan — we’ve come up with about 187,000 of acres underwater,” Cassidy said. “In terms of crop loss ... we’ve come up with about $101 million.”
John Remus, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division at the Corps Northwestern Division, explained the river management decisions over the past year.
“The runoff drives our decisions,” Remus said. “Even in the last year plus has been pretty much — all of our decisions have been made with (river) control in mind.”