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The Missouri River Water Management office releases a report at the beginning of each month to the public documenting the monthly river forecast and release schedule. The Missouri River Water Management Division is part of the Northwestern Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Missouri River Water Management office releases a report at the beginning of each month to the public documenting the monthly river forecast and release schedule. The Missouri River Water Management Division is part of the Northwestern Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is located in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by US Army Corps of Engineers)

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Posted 7/8/2013

Release no. 20130108-001


Contact
Michael Coffey
503-808-3722
michael.a.coffey@usace.army.mil

OMAHA, Neb. — Despite two consecutive months of higher-than-normal runoff, drought conditions persist across much of the Missouri River basin and mainstem reservoir levels remain below normal.

“Even though June rainfall was two to three times normal in eastern Montana, runoff in the upper basin was only slightly above normal,” said Jody Farhat, Chief of the Missouri River Water Management Division.  “The basin continues to recover from the 2012 drought and reservoir levels in Fort Peck, Garrison and Oahe remain 2 to 7 feet below the desired operating levels.”

Runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, for the month of June was 116 percent of normal.  The July 1 forecast for annual runoff in the upper basin is 22.3 million acre feet, 88 percent of normal.  “The above normal rainfall over the last couple months has improved soil moisture conditions in the northern and eastern regions of the basin,” said Farhat.  “However, moderate to extreme drought persists in much of Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas.  The mountain snowpack has melted and we expect to see the reservoir levels in the upper three projects begin to decline as we make releases during the drier summer and fall periods to meet the authorized purposes.”

 “Gavins Point releases will remain near the current rate of 21,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) in early July; however, adjustments will be made if weather and basin conditions change,” said Farhat.  “Thunderstorms can cause localized flooding even during droughts, so reducing flood risk remains a primary consideration during the summer.” 

The Corps will continue to monitor basin conditions and fine tune the regulation of the reservoir system based on the most up-to-date information.  “Reductions in releases for flood risk management also allow us to conserve water in the reservoirs,” she added.

 The July 1 storage check called for an increase in the service level for navigation flow support as well as a full, eight-month navigation season length.  Flow support for navigation during the second half of the season will increase 3,000 cfs from the minimum service level provided in the first half of the season.  Full service level is 6,000 cfs above the minimum service level.      

 Flow targets for the second half of the season will now range from 28,000 cfs at Sioux City, Iowa, to 38,000 cfs at Kansas City, Missouri.  The increase in service level should result in a slight improvement in the navigation channel.  Minimum service flow support is generally sufficient to provide a navigation channel that is 8 feet deep by 200 feet wide, and full service flow support provides a navigation channel 9 feet deep and 300 feet wide. 

Gavins Point releases during the winter of 2013–2014 are forecast to be at the minimum rate of 12,000 cfs.  Reduced support to navigation and low winter releases are the primary drought conservation measures utilized in the regulation of the mainstem reservoir system.  These measures help ensure the reservoir system can continue to serve the authorized purposes during an extended period of drought.

View mountain snowpack graphic here: http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/reports/snow.pdf

Reservoir Forecasts

Gavins Point releases ranged from 12,000 cfs to 23,000 cfs in June, averaging 20,700 cfs.  Releases will remain near the current rate of 21,000 cfs in early July to prevent the endangered least tern and threatened piping plover from nesting on low sandbars that would be flooded later this summer when higher releases are needed to provide navigation flows.  The nesting season runs from May to late August.  Releases will likely increase later in July as tributary flows drop, and increased releases are necessary to meet downstream flow targets.  The reservoir behind Gavins Point Dam ended April at elevation 1206.2 feet msl.  The reservoir will remain near elevation 1206 feet msl during July.

Fort Randall releases ranged from 7000 cfs to 22,000 cfs during June, averaging 18,900 cfs.  Fort Randall releases will be adjusted during July as necessary to maintain the desired elevation at Gavins Point. The reservoir ended June at elevation 1355.3 feet msl, down 2.3 feet during the month.  The reservoir will remain near elevation 1355 feet msl during July. 

Big Bend releases averaged 12,600 cfs during the month of June.  They are expected to average near 21,000 cfs this month. The reservoir will remain near its normal elevation of 1420 feet msl during June.   

Oahe releases averaged 14,200 cfs during the month of June.  Releases are expected to average near 20,000 cfs this month.  The reservoir ended June at elevation 1602.9 feet msl, up 2.8 feet during the month. The reservoir is expected to drop slightly during the month of July.

Garrison releases were reduced from 20,500 cfs to 20,000 cfs in early June and to 19,000 cfs in early July.  Releases will remain at that rate throughout July.  Garrison ended July at elevation 1835.8 feet msl, up 6.2 feet from the end of May.  It is expected to drop less than two feet during July.

Fort Peck releases averaged 7,900 cfs in June, and will remain near 8,000 cfs in July.  The reservoir ended June at elevation 2227.1 feet msl, up 2.7 feet from the previous month.  The reservoir is forecast to drop more than 1 foot during July.

The forecast reservoir releases and elevations discussed above should not be assumed to be definitive.  Additional precipitation or lack of precipitation in the basin could cause adjustments to the reservoir release rates.

The six mainstem power plants generated 594 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in June.  Typical energy generation for the month of June is 843 million kWh. The power plants are projected to generate 7.5 billion kWh of electricity this year, compared to the normal of 10 billion kWh.

 To view the detailed three-week release forecast for the mainstem dams, go to: http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/reports/twout.html


 

 

MISSOURI RIVER MAIN STEM RESERVOIR DATA

 

 

Pool Elevation

 (ft msl)

Water in Storage - 1,000 acre-feet

 

On June 30

Change in June

On June 30

% of 1967-2012 Average

Change in June

Fort Peck

2227.1

+3.7

13,398

89

+710

Garrison

1835.8

+6.2

17,593

93

+1,783

Oahe

1602.9

+2.8

17,463

94

+820

Big Bend

1421.1

+0.5

1,682

98

+24

Fort Randall

1355.3

      -2.3

3,557

91

-204

Gavins Point

1206.4

-0.5

353

92

-12

 

 

 

54,046

92

+3,121

 

 

 

 

WATER RELEASES AND ENERGY GENERATION FOR JUNE

 

 

Average Release in 1,000 cfs

Releases in 1,000 af

Generation in 1,000 MWh

Fort Peck

7.9

473

74

Garrison

19.9

1,181

174

Oahe

14.2

844

123

Big Bend

12.6

752

45

Fort Randall

18.9

1,122

121

Gavins Point

20.7

1,230

57

 

 

 

594

 

Daily Bulletin Missouri River Reservoir Control Center Three Week Forecast