By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Water releases from Gavins Point Dam will remain at 75,000 cubic feet per second for some time, perhaps for the remainder of the year.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had ratcheted up releases from the dam upstream on the Missouri River, bringing them to 70,000, until Saturday, when the Corps raised releases to their present 75,000 cfs.
Missouri River Basin Water Management Chief John Remus with the Corps says the increase is needed to handle a huge influx of water.
“The runoff forecast is now, for 2019, is 50 million acre-feet, which if realized will be the second highest runoff on record, over 121 years; second only to 2011,” Remus tells a conference call held by the Corps.
That year, runoff totaled nearly 62 million acre-feet.
Gavins Point is the lowest of the six upstream Missouri River dams used by the Corps of Engineers to regulate flows into the Missouri River.
Heavy rains, plus increased mountain snowpack melt have filled the upstream Missouri River reservoirs.
Remus says the upper Missouri River Basin has seen 30 million acre-feet of runoff so far this year, with another 20 million expected soon.
“What that means, long-term, is that the 75,000 cfs is going to be maintained, probably, well into the fall of not all the way through till we start ratcheting down for the winter flows,” according to Remus.
If the forecast holds, it will be the second-highest water releases from Gavins Point, behind only 2011, when the Corps increase releases to 160,000 cubic feet per second during the height of the flood. A normal flow from Gavins Point this time of year is 30,000. In 1997, the Corps raised releases from Gavins Point to 70,000 cfs, previously second highest.