Continued drought conditions in the Missouri River basin mean water releases from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota will be at the minimum level this winter.
From December to the end of February, releases from Gavins Point are usually around 17,000 cubic feet per second. Starting next week, the Corps of Engineers will gradually reduce flows from Gavins Point until they reach 12,000 cubic feet per second on December first.
Omaha District spokeswoman Monique Farmer says more significant measures could be needed next spring without heavy snow pack. That snow pack melts in to the Missouri River basin.
If conditions are dry, additional drought conservation measures will be needed. Farmer says those measures include a shortened navigation season.
The Associated Press reports that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and barge industry representatives asked the Corps not to cut water releases. Farmer says the Corps doesn’t have the authority, per the manual guiding uses of the Missouri River, to operate solely for the benefit of the Mississippi River.