The Corps held its first conference call of 2013 on Tuesday to update basin forecasts, weather conditions and reservoir operations.
Jody Farhat, Chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division, says the runoff season is beginning with reservoirs drawn down significantly.
She says that’s due to the drought that began last year.
As a result, Farhat says the Corps is implementing measures to conserve water in the mainstem reservoir system. Those include lower releases this winter and reduced service to navigation coming this summer.
Farhat says the final 2013 operating plan is also now available. It was published in late December.
"The annual operating plan also indicates how the reservoir system will be how will be regulated to serve all eight congressionally authorized project purposes to fulfill our responsibility to the tribes and how we intend to comply with environmental laws including the Endangered Species Act. In contrast, the real-time regulation of the reservoir system is done using the best available hydrological and climatic data. It is adjusted in response to changing conditions on the ground.”
Farhat says the risk of snow melt flooding is low this year, but the risk of rainfall-induced flooding and ice-induced flooding is normal.
Farhat says the Corps will continue to monitor the conditions in basin closely and will make any necessary release adjustments as spring unfolds.