Army Corps Officials Considered Deviating From Master Manual To Address Runoff In 2019

The Corps of Engineers continues to manage a slow draw down of stored floodwater in Missouri River reservoirs. South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds has suggested that the Corps look to climate trends as they make their yearly runoff forecasts. John Remus, Chief of the Missouri River Water Management Office for the Corps in Omaha, says they look at conditions on the ground across the basin…

“To some degree, we look at, you know, a wet trend will mean a wet basin so you’re going to have more runoff, but looking at averages and trends is…we could be in a flash drought next year and we’ve overdrafted the reservoirs and then what do you do so…it’s you know, managing the basin for all the purposes is what we do and, you know, the flood control storage is probably at the sweet spot.”

The Corps relies on the Master Manual for river and reservoir operations. Remus says it is their priorities…

“Well it’s a guideline; I don’t view it as a constraint. If it conditions require it, we do have the ability to deviate from it, but we need to have a very good reason for doing that and we have to go through a risk analysis on that and present that to General Helmlinger for approval.”

Remus says they considered deviating from the manual this year…

“We looked a possibly doing that this year in order to overdraft the reservoirs. That would require a deviation. And, you know as time when on and…and the basin just continued to be wet and it was overcome by events. But we do have a….it’s not a constraint right now.”

Releases from Gavins Point Dam continue at seventy thousand cubic feet per second, about twice the normal rate, to draw down the reservoirs before winter