Corps: From flood mode to drought mode

Oct 31, 2012

It’s a much different year for the Upper Missouri River basin than it was in 2011.

"We went from the wettest year on record to this year, where we're getting less than one third of the runoff we had last year," said Jody Farhat, the chief of the Corps of Engineers' Missouri River Management Office.  She said because of that, the Corps is planning to implement drought conservation measures.

"We didn't this summer," said Farhat. "We had full reservoirs.  So it will be a full navigation season this year. Beginning this winter, we will go to minimum releases, and we will certainly have a reduced support for navigation next year."

Farhat said the Corps reevaluates the amount of water in the upstream reservoirs on July first, and that will determine how much the navigation season will be shortened.

Farhat said the level of Lake Sakakawea is expected to drop another four to five feet over the winter. Lake Oahe is expected to remain where it is.