US Army Corps continues the balancing act along the Missouri River dam system

It’s been a rainy week in most of the Upper Missouri River basin, causing dam reservoir levels to rise.

The US Army Corps of Engineers says over the last seven days, rainfall over much of Nebraska, South Dakota and central North Dakota has been 200 to 600% of normal for this time of year. The continued rain has led to higher inflows at Oahe, Big Bend, Fort Randall and Gavins Point Dams.

Chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division John Remus says inflows into Oahe are still high and with pool levels in their exclusive zones at the Oahe and Fort Randall reservoirs, the Corps needs to ensure they have space available to manage additional runoff. He says increasing releases from Gavins Point Dam will allow more water to pass through the system and slow the rise in the pool levels.

Aaron Scheibe is a Senior Policy Advisor for Gov. Kristi Noem’s Office. On a conference call with the Corps late this morning (Wed.), Scheibe asked why releases from the Oahe Dam aren’t increasing more rapidly.


Corps officials say releases will remain higher than average into the fall because the reservoirs have to be at the base of the annual flood control pool by the beginning of the 2020 runoff season.

The currently planned changes are as follows:

◾Fort Randall Releases:

–Will increase corresponding to Gavins Point releases

◾Gavins Point Releases:

–Increased May 28 from 60,000 cfs to 65,000 cfs

–Increase May 29 from 65,000 cfs to 70,000 cfs

More information about releases and river stages