OMAHA, Neb. --
Please note the time for the Fort Peck fall public meeting has changed. Due to scheduling conflicts, the St. Louis meeting has been canceled.
September precipitation was once again below average in the Missouri River Basin. September runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa was 0.6 million acre-feet, 47% of the long-term average. Soil conditions in the upper Missouri River Basin continue to be very dry. According to the Drought Mitigation Center, over 90% of the Missouri River basin is currently experiencing some form of abnormally dry conditions or drought, which is almost a 20% increase from the end of August.
“Runoff in the upper Missouri River Basin was below average during the month of September and is expected to remain low throughout the rest of 2022,” said John Remus, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division.
“Releases from Gavins Point Dam will continue to be set to maintain a service level 500 cubic feet-per-second above the minimum service level,” Remus added.
The 2022 calendar year runoff forecast for the upper Basin, updated on Oct. 1, is 19.5 MAF, 76% of average and 0.7 MAF lower than last month’s annual runoff forecast. Average annual runoff for the upper Basin is 25.7 MAF.
Total System storage as of Oct. 5 was 48.5 MAF, which is 7.6 MAF the base of the flood control zone. Due to the extremely dry conditions in the upper Missouri River Basin, the System is expected to lose an additional 2.0 MAF before the 2023 runoff season begins in March of 2023.
Gavins Point Dam releases will be set to provide navigation flow support at a level 500 cfs above minimum service at all four target locations (Sioux City, Omaha, Nebraska City, and Kansas City). Season support will end on Nov. 28 at the mouth of the Missouri River
Winter Release Rate
As per the criteria in the Maser Manual, the winter release rate is determined based on the Sept. 1 System storage. Per the Sept. 1 System storage, winter releases from Gavins Point Dam will be at the minimum rate of 12,000 cfs. In anticipation of the low winter releases, a letter was sent in early July to all water users below Gavins Point Dam making them aware of the planned releases, and encouraging them to assess the risk to their facilities. The volume of water in the Missouri River downstream of the System will be adequate for water supply needs. However, the USACE cannot guarantee access to the water. Access to the water is the responsibility of the individual intake owner/operators.
Draft Annual Operating Plan
In mid-September, the USACE posted the draft 2022-2023 Annual Operating Plan on its website at: https://www.nwd.usace.army.mil/MRWM/Public-Meetings/. The comment period on the draft AOP will close Nov. 23.
Fall Public Meetings
Fall public meetings will be held the week of Oct. 24-28. Specific dates, times and locations are listed below and can be found on the website at https://www.nwd.usace.army.mil/MRWM/Public-Meetings/.
Monday, October 24 – Fort Peck, Montana
- Start time: 11:00 a.m. (MDT)
- Fort Peck Interpretative Center
- Lower Yellowstone Rd.
Monday, October 24 – Bismarck, North Dakota
- Start time: 5 p.m. (CDT)
- Bismarck State College, National Energy Center of Excellence (NECE), Bldg. 15, Bavendick Stateroom
- 1200 Schafer Street
Tuesday, October 25 – Fort Pierre, South Dakota
- Start time: 10 a.m. (CDT)
- Casey Tibbs Conference Center
- 210 Verendrye Drive
Tuesday, October 25 – Sioux City, Iowa
- Start time: 4 p.m. (CDT)
- Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, Betty Strong Encounter Center
- 900 Larsen Park Rd.
Wednesday, October 26 – Smithville, Missouri
- Start time: 11 a.m. (CDT)
- Jerry Litton Visitor Center, Smithville Dam
- 16311 DD Hwy.
Wednesday, October 26 – Nebraska City, Nebraska
- Start time: 5 p.m. (CDT)
- Steinhart Lodge
- 1888 Steinhart Park Rd
Thursday, October 27 – St. Louis, Missouri
Due to scheduling conflicts, this meeting has been canceled. We will provide a recording of our meeting presentations. Attendees may contact us with questions or queries.
If necessary, a virtual meeting may be scheduled at a later date.
Start time: 10:30 a.m. (CDT)
1034 S. Brentwood Blvd, #1700
- Gavins Point Dam
- Average releases past month – 31,000 cfs
- Current release rate – 32,000 cfs (as of October 4)
- Forecast release rate – 32,300 cfs (month of October)
- End-of-September reservoir level – 1207.5 feet
- Forecast end-of-October reservoir level – 1207.5 feet
- Notes: Releases will be adjusted as necessary to meet all downstream navigation targets.
- Fort Randall Dam
- Average releases past month – 29,900 cfs
- End-of-September reservoir level – 1353.4 feet
- Forecast end-of-October reservoir level – 1344.1 feet
- Notes: Releases will be adjusted as necessary to maintain the desired reservoir elevation at Gavins Point. The Fort Randall pool is normally drawn down to 1337.5 feet in the fall to provide space for winter hydropower generation at Oahe and Big Bend. The annual drawdown will continue in October and November.
- Big Bend Dam
- Average releases past month – 28,900 cfs
- Forecast average release rate – 19,500 cfs
- Forecast reservoir level – 1420.8 feet
- Oahe Dam
- Average releases past month – 29,100 cfs
- Forecast average release rate – 20,300 cfs
- End-of-September reservoir level – 1593.0 feet
- Forecast end-of-October reservoir level – 1591.3 feet
- Garrison Dam
- Average releases past month – 17,800 cfs
- Current release rate – 14,000 cfs
- Forecast average release rate – 14,000 cfs
- End-of-September reservoir level – 1834.0 feet
- Forecast end-of-October reservoir level – 1833.1 feet
- Fort Peck Dam
- Average releases past month – 7,700 cfs
- Current release rate – 4,000 cfs
- Forecast average release rate – 4,100 cfs
- End-of-September reservoir level – 2219.7 feet
- Forecast end-of-October reservoir level – 2219.5 feet
The forecast reservoir releases and elevations discussed above are not definitive. Additional precipitation, lack of precipitation or other circumstances could cause adjustments to the reservoir release rates.
The six mainstem power plants generated 832 million kWh of electricity in September. Typical energy generation for September is 902 million kWh. The power plants are projected to generate 7.4 billion kWh of electricity this year, compared to the long-term average of 9.4 billion kWh.
To view the detailed three-week release forecast for the mainstem dams, go to http://go.usa.gov/xVgWr.