Missouri River management | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Missouri River management

High runoff continues in upper Missouri Basin

Nov 8, 2019
US Army Corps of Engineers

The US Army Corps of Engineers says runoff continues to be high throughout most of the Missouri River Basin.

"2019 continues to be a very wet year throughout the basin," said Corps Missouri River Management Division director John Remus. "This has led to excessive runoff into the reservoirs and to the unregulated streams below."

Those unregulated streams include the James River in North and South Dakota.

Army Corps of Engineers

The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing an update to the water control plan for Lake Audubon.

The Corps’ concern is the Snake Creek Embankment – on US Highway 83 between Lake Audubon and Lake Sakakawea.

Potential problems with the embankment emerged after the drought in the early 2000s.

"During that time, we saw a record level of difference between the water surfaces of Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon," said Corps project manager Matt Nelson. He said the water pressure from Lake Audubon on the embankment was much more than the dam was designed for.

03055 Mo River meeting                                        6-4-15 ddt

A group advocating for North Dakota’s interests when it comes to the Missouri River wants to expand the group to be a statewide organization.

The North Dakota Missouri River Stakeholders held its spring conference in Bismarck. Organizers say it’s designed to get more than state leaders involved in the issues.

The US Army Corps of Engineers says spring runoff in the Missouri River basin is significantly less than earlier predicted.

"What we see is that the mountain snowpack appears to have peaked in early March, instead of continuing to accumulate through at least mid-April," said Jody Farhat, the chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. "Our runoff forecast is now down around 80 percent."

Farhat says this will likely mean lower reservoir levels this summer, as well as declining levels through the fall.

Corps asked to speed up releases from Sakakawea

Oct 29, 2014

The chief engineer of the North Dakota Water Commission is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to move more water out of Lake Sakakawea before the Missouri River freezes up for the winter.

"We had way above normal runoff in August," said Todd Sando. "Our tributaries have been putting a lot of water into the Missouri. That's water that needs to be dealt with right now."

Sando says his main concern is along the stretch of the Missouri between Garrison Dam and Lake Oahe. He says groundwater could be a problem.

Sando: Move water out of Lake Sakakwea now

Oct 27, 2014

State water commission engineer Todd Sando says he will be asking the Army Corps of Engineers to step up flows from Lake Sakakawea before the Missouri River ices over this winter.

Sando will be presenting that message to the Corps Tuesday at a meeting in Bismarck.

Prairie Public news director Dave Thompson talked with Sando -- and here is that interview.

A plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to charge water users living along Missouri River reservoirs for that water isn’t sitting well with the basin states.

The Corps has been holding public meetings throughout the Missouri Basin to discuss its proposal.