US Army Corps of Engineers
Northwestern Division Website

News Releases

Corps reduces releases from Fort Randall Dam to zero

Northwestern Division
Published March 18, 2019
Fort Randall releases are being reduced back to zero. Gavins Point releases were reduced from 53,000 cfs to 43,000 cfs last evening (Sunday), and will be reduced further today (Monday).

Fort Randall releases are being reduced back to zero. Gavins Point releases were reduced from 53,000 cfs to 43,000 cfs last evening (Sunday), and will be reduced further today (Monday). Heavy plains snow remains in the northern half of South Dakota and central North Dakota (upper right graphic). The National Weather Service is forecasting high flows on the Big Sioux, Vermillion, and James Rivers from melting snowpack. Mountain snowpack accumulation is about average (lower right graphic). System storage is 56.7 MAF; 0.6 MAF of the 16.3 MAF of flood control storage is occupied. About 96% of the flood control storage is available to store runoff this spring and summer.

The Vermillion River in South Dakota enters the Missouri River downstream of Gavins Point Dam.

The Vermillion River in South Dakota enters the Missouri River downstream of Gavins Point Dam.

The Big Sioux River enters the Missouri River at Sioux City, Iowa, downstream of Gavins Point Dam.

The Big Sioux River enters the Missouri River at Sioux City, Iowa, downstream of Gavins Point Dam.

Runoff from the James River enters the Missouri River downstream of Gavins Point Dam.

Runoff from the James River enters the Missouri River downstream of Gavins Point Dam.

For the second time in the past week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has stopped all upper Missouri River Basin flows at Fort Randall Dam, the agency announced today.

“We have stopped releases again from Fort Randall Dam. The inflows into Gavins Point Dam continue to be higher than normal,” said John Remus, chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Water Management Division.

Releases from Gavins Point Dam were reduced to 43,000 cubic feet per second Sunday evening and will be further reduced today. The Gavins Point pool elevation is 1209.5 feet, about 3 feet below Friday’s peak elevation and 0.5 foot below the top of its Exclusive Flood Control Zone.

More than 99 percent of the Missouri River Mainstem System Storage is above Fort Randall Dam and 15.7 million acre feet (MAF) of the 16.3 MAF of flood control storage remains available.

There are several locations affected by the flooding said Northwestern Division commander, Brig. Gen. D. Peter Helmlinger after surveying the area yesterday.

“Many may not realize this is not just the Missouri River. The Elkhorn River, Salt Creek and Platte River areas have also experienced the wrath of this storm. Corps’ personnel are fully engaged providing support in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. We are with you,” said Helmlinger.

The National Weather service is forecasting high flows on the Big Sioux, Vermillion, and James rivers from melting plains snowpack.

“It is important for those on these rivers and the Missouri River downstream from Sioux City not to get complacent as the stages are declining. They will likely climb again,” said Kevin Low, lead hydrologist from the National Weather Service’s Missouri Basin River Forecast Center in Pleasant Hill, Missouri.

The Corps has established webpage at go.usa.gov/xE6fC (the URL is case sensitive) that can be saved to your mobile phone’s home screen which provides links to the most up-to-date information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers including runoff and release schedules, links to the Omaha and Kansas City Districts, links to our social media accounts, and provides a link to the National Weather Service, Missouri Basin River Forecast Center. We have also provided links to the “App” on Facebook and Twitter.

The adjusted release schedule for Gavins Point is as follows:
• 38,000 cfs Monday evening
• 33,000 cfs Tuesday morning
• 28,000 cfs Tuesday evening
• 23,000 cfs Wednesday morning
• 20,000 cfs Wednesday evening

Please note: the release schedule can change based on changing reservoir inflow and/or downstream river conditions.

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.
The public should look to their local emergency managers for questions or concerns or call 211, which is a National Resource hotline and website geared to local area needs. They is also a hotline 402-471-7428 for Nebraska residents.


Contact
Eileen Williamson
402-996-3802
eileen.l.williamson@usace.army.mil

Release no. 19-015