Saylorville Lake recently hit its lowest level ever, and barge traffic on the Mississppi has slowed to a trickle. Some would think the snowfall predictions would be good for our drought stricken waterways, but it’s actually got the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers changing water flow plans to prevent more damage.
The Army Corps had originally planned to cut back flows on the Missouri River, now they say they have reversed those plans because freezing temperatures will build ice and reduce water downstream. The Corps says levels along the lower river are already within inches of shutoff elevations and ice would make things worse.
The Army Corps will increase flows out of the Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota by 2,000 cubic feet per second Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. In early January they say they will look at moving the flows back down to 14,000 cubic feet per second which is the current rate.
They don’t expect this change to affect Mississippi River levels until the ice melts in the spring.