It is the usual practice this time of year. The United States Army Corps of Engineers drops releases to prepare the Missouri for winter.
Releases at Gavins Point Dam will drop to 21,500 cubic feet per second. That is higher than the normal drop of between 12,000 and 17,000 cubic feet per second. A wetter year than normal allows the Corps to keep releases slightly higher during the winter months.
Mike Swenson, one of the Missouri River Water Management Office team leaders, says the overall goal is to prepare the reservoirs to handle runoff from rain and snowpack melting in the spring.
“And then, you know, the whole idea is just to continue to monitor throughout the year and make adjustments as necessary to make sure the reservoir system is in good shape to handle that runoff,” Swenson tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Last year, the Corps dropped releases to 18,000 cubic feet per second at the beginning of winter, then lowered them to 17,000 cfs later during the winter months.
“It’s still a lower release than we have during other times of the year, but it’s just slightly higher for the winter,” according to Swenson.
Swenson says the higher levels should help hydropower generation during the winter. It will also benefit municipal and industrial water intakes along the Missouri River and should help prevent ice jams this winter.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]