News Releases

Gavins Point releases will not reach 20,000 cfs, Fort Randall releases to resume Saturday

Northwestern Division
Published March 22, 2019
Gavins Point releases remain at 24,000 cfs. The will not decline to 20,000 cfs. Fort Randall releases will begin Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Gavins Point releases remain at 24,000 cfs. They will not decline to 20,000 cfs. Fort Randall releases will begin Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Gavins Point Dam releases have been maintained at 24,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) since Wednesday, March 20.

“Inflows into the Gavins Point have not declined as expected. Melting of the plains snowpack, primarily in northern South Dakota and southern North Dakota has begun to enter the system. Pool levels in the Oahe, Big Bend and Fort Randall reservoirs are going to begin to rise, and may rise relatively quickly. Because inflows, primarily from the Niobrara River, continue to match releases and the snowmelt in north central South Dakota has started and reducing to releases to 20,000 cfs became a less feasible. Our office will continue monitoring runoff conditions throughout the Missouri River basin and provide overall system status updates beginning Monday,” said John Remus, chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Water Management Division.

The new forecast is to increase releases from Gavins Point Dam to 32,000 cfs once the crest on the Big Sioux River reaches Sioux City. 

Releases from Fort Randall Dam will begin on Saturday, March 23 at a release rate of 4,000 cfs. On Sunday, releases will be increased to 12,000 cfs. Travel time from Fort Randall Dam to Gavins Point Dam is about 1.5 days.

The Gavins Point pool elevation is 1208.08 feet, declining .24 feet over the last 24 hours. 

The National Weather Service is forecasting high flows from melting snowpack in the coming weeks on the Big Sioux, Vermillion, and James Rivers in eastern South Dakota. 

Frost depths remain very deep and soils are very wet in these basins and across the entire lower Missouri River basin.  These conditions will result in a significant portion of the melted snowpack become direct runoff into smaller streams, and eventually, into the Missouri River.  

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.

Public safety remains a priority and local emergency managers are the best resource for information. For questions or concerns, call 211 to reach National Resource hotline and website geared to local area needs.

The Corps has established webpage at (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 our social media accounts, and a link to the National Weather Service, Missouri Basin River Forecast Center. We have also provided links to the “App” on Facebook and Twitter.

Eileen Williamson

Release no. 19-019