Corps to step down releases from Gavins Point Dam to 20,000 cfs

Omaha, NE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers anticipates ending 2011 with most of this summer's flood water released from the dams feeding the Missouri River.

The Corps plans to keep releases from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota at 40,000 cubic feet per second through Wednesday. After that, releases will be stepped down 3,000 cfs each day until they reach 20,000 cubic feet per second.

Water Management Division Chief Jody Farhat says the release schedule is flexible, and accounts for snow pack. Right now, Farhat says the snow pack on the plains is at or slightly below where it was at this time last year. Mountain snow pack is also at or slightly below average.

The Corps' 2012 operating plan will be released the first week of January. The operating plan, which lays out how the mainstem reservoirs of the Missouri River will be managed next year, was to be released this month. Farhat says it'll be delayed as the Corps works to add suggestions from a series of public meetings to that plan.

A four-member independent panel is also reviewing the Corps' management practices during the 2011 runoff season. At the height of last summer's Missouri River flooding, releases from Gavins Point topped 160,000 cubic feet per second.