Army Corps Of Engineers Says Focus Is Still On Flood Control And Safety

(WNAX) — The Corps of Engineers is struggling with high levels in the Missouri River reservoirs and time running out to get them to winter storage stages. John Remus, Chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Office in Omaha, says their focus is still on flood control and safety…

“Throughout the year there’s been a lot of discussion regarding the Congressionally authorized purposes and the operational priorities for the system. It is important to understand that authorized purposes and priorities are not the same thing. While the system is authorized for eight purposes; the Corps’ priority is life and health safety. In large runoff years such as 2018 and 2019 or during an extreme hydrologic event, the flood control purpose drives the Corps operational decisions for the system.”

Remus says they are aware of the damages caused by the high water…

“In 2019, Mother Nature has made managing runoff into the Missouri River basin very challenging. People throughout the basin have been and or continue to be directly impacted; some severely impacted. The Corps is well aware of the damage this year’s flooding has caused and we are doing all we can to reduce the impacts and assist in the recovery.”

Remus says each run off year is unique…

“It is important to understand that the volume, timing and location of which runoff enters the system significantly impacts the timing and amount of releases. Each runoff season or flooding event is unique. Care should be taken when comparing one event to another. 2019 continues to be a very wet year throughout the basin. This has led to excessive runoff into the reservoirs and into the unregulated streams below the system.”

The Corps will maintain releases from Gavins Point Dam at eighty thousand cubic feet per second through November before rapidly stepping them down by mid-December.