The Missouri River may drop two feet this coming week. After the latest in a string of sometimes conflicting court rulings, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will cut back the release of water from Gavins Point dam in Yankton, South Dakota. Kerry Gill is director of Parks and Recreation in Sioux City and says that won’t help the marina there. The last few years brought tough times and poor maintenance by a previous leaseholder, and there are “issues,” she says, with water levels in the marina. Several years of drought in the multi-state region upriver along the Missouri have its water level lower than normal already and Gill says there’s barely enough for boating. When river water goes down, so does the level in the marina and makes it tough for boats to come in and out from the river. Gill says poor maintenance already cut the number of “slips” for docking boats in half from the 200 originally built. Early this summer the water was about 4-feet deep in the marina and it’s been going down this dry summer, so she says the Corps’ action next week will really hamper traffic going in and out of the marina. Gill says they’ll have to wait and see how low the river’s level sinks. Engineers have predicted in four days of shutoff, it could fall by two feet. To keep them from being sunk in the mud, Gill’s advising boat owners to untie them and cast off.The city has a public boat ramp upstream, and they’re telling boat owners to haul them out of the river, then wait a couple days to see what kind of water level they wind up having. The Minnesota judge most recently ruled the Corps must comply with an order to lower water levels to more “natural” lost in late summer, in hopes it’ll benefit endangered birds and fish.
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