The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released its new draft operating plan which details how Missouri River levels will be managed next year. Corps spokesman Paul Johnston says they want to have two "pulses" of water in the spring.
Johnston says, "We have to have at least 40-million acre feet of water in storage in the reservoirs and right now, we have more than 44-and-a-half and I don’t see any way that we would lose that much water between now and the first of March." Johnston says the timing of the pulses will depend on river conditions early next spring.
He says: "The first one will be in March about the time we come up to provide navigation flows. That’s kind of the mid to latter part of March, and then the May release will be sometime between the 1st and the 19th of May depending on the water temperature below Gavin’s Point." Johnston says the Corps will also hold a series of public meetings across the Missouri River basin in mid-October.
Johnston says, "We’re going to give some presentations on how the operations went this year and then lay out the draft plan for 2009 and we’ll talk about not only the pulses but our efforts to produce hydropower and to protect the birds." Sandbars built along the Missouri River are helping to save two bird species threatened with extinction. The sandbars create nesting places for the endangered least tern and threatened piping plover.
For more information, see the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers w ebsite.