Dam releases drop
BY ALYSSA MEIER
After high rainfall and rapid snowmelt prompted officials to increase releases from the Garrison Dam, things are finally beginning to level out.
Releases from the Garrison Dam spiked in June, jumping from 44,000 cubic feet per second, or cfs, to 60,000 cfs in order to combat the additional runoff being funneled into Lake Sakakawea. Output is gradually being decreased again, with the Army Corps of Engineers reporting the releases dropped to 57,000 cfs on July 24 and will be down to 50,000 cfs by Thursday.
In Washburn, the Missouri River jumped over two feet when the releases first increased, going from 13.65 to 15.8 feet. The river in this area peaked at 16.1 feet on June 29, but was just below 15 feet as of Tuesday.
The Corps reported that the decreased release rate has dropped the river level at Bismarck approximately six inches since last week. River levels in Bismarck peaked at 13.4 feet, also on June 29, just one foot below what is considered flood stage.
According to a press release, July 12 was the last day that Lake Sakakawea rose, with levels slowly dropping every day since at approximately one inch per day. At its highest, the lake hit 1,853 feet, approximately one and-a-half feet less than the peak during 2011 flooding.
Todd Lindquist, Operations Project Manager at Garrison Dam, said Sakakawea will need to drop another 14 feet before winter weather sets in.