April 2, 2009

Garrison Dam makes history

Garrison Dam makes history
Releases taken to zero for extended period
By DANIELLE ABBOTT
BHG News Service
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers made history Tuesday, March 24 when it made the decision to close the Garrison Dam release gates, allowing no water to be released downstream into the Missouri River for an extended period of time.
Corps officials note that from time to time throughout the year releases from the power generating units are reduced to zero, but only for short periods of time of four hours or less. The reasons vary – including maintenance and load schedule.
The recent risk of flooding in the Bismarck Mandan area drove the Corps to make its decision. The water in the Missouri had risen near Bismarck to an estimated 15.5 feet, less than half a foot from the 16-foot flood stage.
The Corps had been carefully watching the river flow, ice dams and other factors that contributed to the area’s flooding.
Paul Johnston, spokesman for the Corps of Engineers, said that on Saturday, March 21, the Garrison Dam, which usually releases up to 19,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), was taken down to a 6,000 cfs release, a near record for the dam.
On Tuesday, March 24, the Corps matched its lowest point ever when releases were taken down to a 4,000 cfs output. A short time later the Corps made history when the dam was closed completely with zero release.
 


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