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Corps continues evacuation of flood waters, prepares for annual operating plan meetings

OMAHA, Neb. - Greater than normal runoff from rainfall is expected to continue throughout the Missouri River basin during the month of October as the Corps works to evacuate stored flood waters throughout the main stem system in order to prepare for next year's runoff season.

Increased releases out of Gavins Point and Fort Randall reservoirs will allow the Corps to evacuate the flood waters stored this summer and position the reservoir system to meet all authorized purposes in 2011. The Missouri Basin Water Management Division in Omaha increased releases out of Gavins Point Dam from 46,500 cubic feet per second to 49,000 cfs in early October and will maintain those releases through Dec. 1, in order to prepare for next year's runoff season.

"We expect to have the majority of the stored flood waters evacuated from the system by early December," said Jody Farhat, Chief of the Water Management office here. "The higher releases this fall will cause water levels to be about 3 to 4 feet higher than normal, but the releases will remain within the river channel unless we experience a significant amount of precipitation. We will begin ramping down releases from Gavins in early December."

The forecast for the month of October shows a continued greater than normal runoff season, with the runoff pattern starting to return to more normal conditions later this month. The current forecast for runoff this season is 38.7 million acre feet, 156 percent of average. Fort Peck remains near its crest at 2235.9 feet; Garrison crested at 1850.9 in August; and Oahe crested near 1617.6 in July. Storage in the system of reservoirs peaked near 65.9 million acre-feet in July, and ended September at 62 million acre-feet. The last time it saw this level during the month of October was in 1999.

Gavins Point releases averaged 44,600 cfs in September. The long-term average for September is 35,200 cfs.

Fort Randall releases averaged 44,800 cfs in September. They will be adjusted this month as necessary to maintain Gavins Point reservoir near its desired elevation. Fort Randall reservoir dropped by 4.4 feet in September, ending near elevation 1352.3 feet. Its elevation is projected to decrease by an additional 7.3 feet, ending the month near elevation 1345 feet msl. The reservoir is normally drawn down to elevation 1337 in the fall to provide space for winter hydropower generation at Oahe and Big Bend. The annual drawdown will continue throughout the months of October and November.

Big Bend reservoir will remain within its normal range between 1420 and 1421 feet. Releases will be adjusted to meet hydropower needs.

Oahe releases in September averaged 39,200 cfs and will average 38,900 cfs in October. The reservoir ended September at elevation 1610.7 feet, down 2.3 feet from August. It is still about 3.2 feet into the flood pool. The flood pool is the specific storage area within the reservoir that is used when necessary to store floodwaters until they can be released safely. The reservoir continues to be drawn down to position it to capture next year's spring runoff. It will fall about 1.7 feet in October, ending the month near elevation 1609 feet. This is 10 feet above its normal end of October elevation. The reservoir is currently 3.1 feet higher than it was last year at this time.

Garrison reservoir ended September at elevation 1848.2 feet, down 2 feet from August. Releases averaged 26,900 cfs during the month, compared to the long-term average of 20,400 cfs. Releases were increased to 30,000 cfs in early October and are expected to remain at that rate through November, before being reduced in early December. The reservoir is expected to drop 3.1 feet this month, ending at 1845.2 feet. This is more than 9 feet above normal. It is currently 7.7 feet into its flood pool and 3.6 feet higher than a year ago.

Fort Peck reservoir remained nearly level in September, ending at elevation 2235.9 feet msl. Releases averaged 6,100 cfs in September compared to the long-term average of 5,400 cfs. Releases will remain near 6,000 cfs through November. The reservoir will drop by 0.2 feet this month, ending at elevation 2235.7, 5.7 feet above normal. It is currently 15.7 feet higher than last year at this time.

The six main stem power plants generated 1,094 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in September, enough to power more than 93,000 homes for a year. Power plant generation for the month of September was 123 percent of normal. Total energy production for 2010 is forecast to reach 9 billion kWh. The long-term average is approximately 10 billion kWh.

The Corps will hold six public meetings throughout the basin on the draft 2010-2011 Missouri River Annual Operating Plan. The Corps will accept comments on the draft plan through Nov. 15.

The draft plan anticipates serving all of the authorized project purposes, including flood control, navigation, hydropower, water supply and water quality control, irrigation, recreation and fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species.

The format of each AOP meeting will include a presentation on this year's operation of the dams and reservoirs, as well as plans for next year's operation of the main stem system. There will be opportunities for the public to comment on the draft plan and ask questions about current and future operations. The draft plan is available in the Reports & Publications section of the Water Management website at: http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc <http://usacearmy.pr-optout.com/Url.aspx?520028x275068x413120> .

The meeting schedule is:

Oct. 19 - 11 a.m. - Fort Peck Interpretative Center, Fort Peck, Mont.

7 p.m. - Radisson Hotel, Bismarck, N.D.

Oct. 20 - 1 p.m. - Ramkota Hotel, Pierre, S.D.

7 p.m. - Marina Inn, South Sioux City, Neb.

Oct. 21 - 1 p.m. - Holiday Inn Riverfront, St. Joseph, Mo.

7 p.m. - Capitol Plaza, Jefferson City, Mo.

Comments on the draft plan will be taken during the series of public meetings. Written and email comments will be accepted through Nov. 15. Emailed comments should be sent to: [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> .

View daily and forecasted reservoir and river information on the Water Management section of the Northwestern Division homepage at http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc <http://usacearmy.pr-optout.com/Url.aspx?520028x275068x413120> .

MISSOURI RIVER MAIN STEM RESERVOIR DATA

Pool Elevation

(ft msl)

Water in Storage - 1,000 acre-feet

On September 30

Change in September

On September 30

% of 1967-2009 Average

Change in September

Fort Peck

2235.9

+0.2

15,184

104

+44

Garrison

1848.2

-2.0

21,706

119

-708

Oahe

1610.7

-2.3

19,862

116

-784

Big Bend

1419.8

-0.5

1,626

95

-13

Fort Randall

1352.3

-4.4

3,306

99

-369

Gavins Point

1208.1

+1.8

397

93

+48

62,081

112

-1782

WATER RELEASES AND ENERGY GENERATION FOR SEPTEMBER

Average Release in 1,000 cfs

Releases in 1,000 af

Generation in 1,000 MWh

Fort Peck

6.1

364

61

Garrison

26.9

1,599

258

Oahe

39.2

2,332

335

Big Bend

36.3

2,162

130

Fort Randall

44.8

2,668

232

Gavins Point

44.6

2,653

78

1,094

###

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, 1616 Capitol Ave., Ste. 9000, Omaha, NE 68102 United States
 
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