Operations on the Missouri River are now in winter mode as colder weather has taken over. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Paul Johnston says water releases from the five main dams will go up and down a bit, depending on ice action downstream. Johnston says the region’s reservoirs have seen a steady climb this year.

He says 2008 has been a good year for the Missouri River basin as there’s been more runoff than any year since 1999. Johnston says the low water levels and releases have had a direct, negative impact on hydro-electric power generated at the dams along the Missouri. He says November was only 33-percent of normal and for the year, they expect to produce less than half the normal amount of electricity.

If there’s more spring rain, Johnston says some of that deficit can be quickly recovered. He says the Corps will release its river operating plan for 2009 later this month, and it likely won’t include any significant differences from the current plan.

One small change may come in that the state of Missouri has requested there not be a "pulse" of water released in May. The full 2009 plan is still under review.