OMAHA, Neb. —The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Basin Water Management Division plans to step up Gavins Point dam releases by 4,000 cubic feet per second this week in response to colder temperatures moving into the region.
Temperatures are forecast to drop late this week and remain cold through the end of the year building ice on the Missouri River and tributaries. As a result tributary inflow is expected to decrease as those streams begin to freeze over. In addition, some of the flow in the Missouri River will be locked up in river ice, which reduces flows available for downstream water intakes. The increased releases from Gavins Point are intended to maintain steady Missouri River stages downstream of Gavins Point and keep all lower river intakes operational.
“Our normal operations are to increase Gavins Point releases when forecasts indicate that conditions for ice formation are developing,” said Jody Farhat, Chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “Releases will be increased from 14,000 cfs to 16,000 cfs on Wednesday, December 19, and to 18,000 cfs on Thursday, December 20. We will monitor the situation closely and make additional adjustments if necessary to maintain intakes along the lower river. We anticipate that releases from Gavins Point will be maintained at 18,000 cfs until early January.” Once temperatures moderate, releases will be gradually reduced back to 14,000 cfs. The increased releases are not expected to affect stages along the Mississippi River since much of the additional flow will be held as ice in the Missouri River basin until spring. Due to concern at lower river intakes, it is unlikely that releases below 14,000 cfs will be scheduled this winter.