OMAHA -- Water releases from Gavins Point Dam were increased Monday as snow from northern plains begins to melt and flow into Missouri River reservoirs upstream.
Releases were raised from 24,000 cubic feet per second to 27,000 cfs. Releases are scheduled to be increased to 30,000 cfs on or near Saturday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.
"We are beginning to see the plains snow melt in the upper basin with runoff into all of the upper storage reservoirs. We are monitoring these conditions, and while there will at times be a rapid rise in pool elevations, we have 14.4 million acre-feet, or 88 percent of the flood storage capacity, available to capture runoff," John Remus, chief of the corps' Missouri River Water Management Division in Omaha, said in a news release.
The increased Gavins Point releases will allow for increased releases from Fort Randall Dam, located upstream at Pickstown, South Dakota. Fort Randall had been shut off since March 13 to keep waters from rising at Lewis and Clark Lake, which has little flood storage capacity. The corps resumed releases at Fort Randall over the weekend at 8,000 cfs.
The corps had planned on dropping Gavins Point releases to 20,000 cfs, but water inflows, especially from the Niobrara River, remain heavy, the corps said.
The Gavins Point pool elevation was at 1207.66 feet Monday morning, a drop of 0.3 feet in the past 24-hour period. The lake's elevation peaked at a record 1212.3 feet on March 15.