Corps of Engineers: River Back to Normal by December

The US Army Corps of Engineers says the Missouri River flooding is ending.

In a news release Tuesday night, the Corp’s Missouri River stream manager Jody Farhat says releases from storage lakes in the Upper Missouri River Basin continued to be scaled back, “and release drawdown strategy is proceeding as planned.

Large portions of the Missouri River were flooded for most of the summer. The flooding was prompted by record-setting water releases by the Corps from it’s upstream storage areas.

The releases, according to the Corps, were due to a large snowpack in the mountains near thew headwaters of the Missouri River. The “game changer”, as the Corps often puts it, was much-larger-than-expected rainfall in the northern plains states.

That forced the Corps to release huge amounts of water through its dams. At one point, the dams were sending 160,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfs) downstream. That flooded parts of North Dakota, South Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.

“Reservoir releases out of Gavins Point Dam were reduced to 90,000 cfs on Aug. 30″, according to a Corps statement.

“Releases will be held steady through Sept. 15 to prevent sloughing of water-logged levees, dams, and riverbanks, and to allow for preliminary inspection and assessment of infrastructure and levees before the final drawdown to normal reservoir releases commences.”

“The releases will be slightly above normal going into fall, but we’re doing our best to remain on schedule because of the importance of evacuating the stored flood water before the start of next year’s runoff season,” Farhat said.

Criticism of the Corps action has been fierce throughout the region. Officials in Holt County, Missouri described it as “devastation by design”. Holt County claims their have an area the size of the city of Chicago underwater.

The controversy has led to calls for the Corps Missouri River management practices to be reviewed by the federal government.

The statement by the Corps says it hopes to have the water releases along the Missouri River back to normal around December.

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