US Army Corps of Engineers
Northwestern Division

News Releases

Gavins Point releases set for 27,000 cfs Monday, Upper basin snow melt beginning

Northwestern Division
Published March 24, 2019
Releases from Fort Randall Dam began on March 24 after more than a week of zero releases to allow flash snowmelt runoff, primarily from the unregulated Niobrara River, to pass through Gavins Point Dam.

Releases from Fort Randall Dam began on March 24 after more than a week of zero releases to allow flash snowmelt runoff, primarily from the unregulated Niobrara River, to pass through Gavins Point Dam.

Fort Randall Dam after releases are increased to 8,000 cfs. Releases were stopped at Fort Randall Dam from March 13-23. Aside from a two-day release of 20,000 acre feet that occurred between March 16-17.

Fort Randall Dam after releases are increased to 8,000 cfs. Releases were stopped at Fort Randall Dam from March 13-23. Aside from a two-day release of 20,000 acre feet that occurred between March 16-17.

Water managers are gradually increasing releases from Fort Randall Dam after more than a week of zero releases. Releases began at 4,000 cfs on March 23 and were increased to 8,000 cfs on March 24. The public is reminded to be aware of debris and gravel bars due to shallow water and the additional hazards of walking on the river banks and exposed river bottom.

Water managers are gradually increasing releases from Fort Randall Dam after more than a week of zero releases. Releases began at 4,000 cfs on March 23 and were increased to 8,000 cfs on March 24. The public is reminded to be aware of debris and gravel bars due to shallow water and the additional hazards of walking on the river banks and exposed river bottom.

At zero releases, the river bed is exposed below Fort Randall Dam. The Pickstown boat ramp is only able to launch very small boats at this time due to zero water releases, and the Randall Creek boat ramp is unusable. Venturing out onto the river bed presents a safety concern and the public is strongly advised to stay on shore.

At zero releases, the river bed is exposed below Fort Randall Dam. The Pickstown boat ramp is only able to launch very small boats at this time due to zero water releases, and the Randall Creek boat ramp is unusable. Venturing out onto the river bed presents a safety concern and the public is strongly advised to stay on shore.

System storage is 58.0 MAF; 1.9 MAF of the 16.3 MAF of flood control storage is occupied. More than 88% of the flood control storage is available to store runoff this spring and summer.
The heavy plains snowpack in South Dakota is melting over frozen ground. Frost depths are deep in North Dakota (upper right graphic) and South Dakota (lower right graphic). For the entire upper basin frost depths click here.
The 3-week forecast with our projected reservoir releases has been updated .

System storage is 58.0 MAF; 1.9 MAF of the 16.3 MAF of flood control storage is occupied. More than 88% of the flood control storage is available to store runoff this spring and summer. The heavy plains snowpack in South Dakota is melting over frozen ground. Frost depths are deep in North Dakota (upper right graphic) and South Dakota (lower right graphic). For the entire upper basin frost depths click here. The 3-week forecast with our projected reservoir releases has been updated .

Releases from Gavins Point Dam will be increased to 27,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) Monday, March 25. The pool elevation declined .3 feet in the past 24 hours.

The mountain snowpack remains average and plains snow melt in the upper basin is beginning.

“We are beginning to see the plains snow melt in the upper basin with runoff into all of the upper storage reservoirs. We are monitoring these condition and while there will at times be a rapid rise in pool elevations, we have 14.4 maf or 88 percent of the flood storage capacity available to capture runoff,” said John Remus chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Water Management Division.

Fort Peck Dam:

  • Inflows: 42,000 cfs (average for the last 48 hours)
  • Releases 6,600 cfs (up 300 cfs in the last 24 hours)
  • Pool elevation: 2235.73 feet mean sea level (msl) (up .3 feet in the last 24 hours)

Garrison Dam:

  • Inflows: 67,000 cfs (up 23,000 cfs in the last 24 hours)
  • Releases: 13,600 cfs
  • Pool elevation: 1837.71 feet msl (up .3 feet in the last 24 hours)

Oahe Dam

  • Inflows: 78,000 cfs (up 31,000 cfs in the last 24 hours)
  • Releases: 3,400 cfs
  • Pool elevation: 1609.09 feet msl (up .5 feet in the last 24 hours)

Big Bend Dam

  • Inflows: 16,000 cfs
  • Releases: 21,100 cfs
  • Pool elevation: 1420.87 feet msl (down .3 feet in the last 24 hours)
  • Notes: It is important to note that Big Bend Dam is a regulation project with very little flood control storage.

Fort Randall Dam

  • Inflows: 68,000 cfs (up 19,000 cfs in the last 24 hours)
  • Releases: 8,000 cfs (up 4,000 cfs in the last 24 hours)
  • Pool elevation: 1359.42 feet msl (up 1.4 feet in the last 24 hours)
  • Notes: Releases were scheduled to increase to 12,000 cfs today but because inflows into the Gavins Point reservoir are not declining, releases were only increased to 8,000 cfs. Releases will remain at 8,000 cfs through March 25. Pool elevations at Fort Randall will be monitored and releases will be adjusted to decrease the chances of entering the exclusive flood control zone, which would require larger system releases from Gavins Point Dam.

Gavins Point Dam

  • Inflows: 20,000 cfs (Slowly declining. Peak inflows March 13 was 182,000 cfs from unregulated tributaries, primarily from the Niobrara River.)
  • Releases: 24,000 cfs (Unchanged since March 20. Scheduled to increase to 27,000 cfs March 25.)
  • Pool elevation: 1207.66 feet msl (Down .3 feet in the last 24 hours. Set record pool elevation of 1212.3 feet on March 13.)
  • Notes: It is important to note that Gavins Point Dam is a regulation project with very little flood control storage. An aerial reconnaissance of the lower Niobrara River indicated that there is a lot of water stored in the Niobrara River’s flood plain. The headwaters of the Niobrara are in eastern Wyoming and the remaining snowpack is beginning to melt. Gages along the Niobrara River are beginning to increase.

Releases from Gavins Point Dam are scheduled to be increased to 30,000 cfs on or near March 30 to allow increased releases from Fort Randall Dam.

“An updated basin runoff forecast will be released on April 1. We continue monitoring conditions, making adjustments as necessary and we provide updated release schedules on our website. We immediately share release changes with the National Weather Service for input in to their river forecasts,” said Remus.
The National Weather Service is the official forecasting agency for the US Government – the public should look to the NWS for forecasts and flood warnings at https://www.weather.gov/mbrfc/.

The National Weather Service is forecasting high flows from melting snowpack in central and eastern South Dakota and along the Missouri River North Dakota.

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 http://go.usa.gov/xE6fC (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.


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

Release no. 19-020