The Missouri River at Yankton, South Dakota, is now just above 20-feet after maxing out at 26-feet back in early July and remaining there through August. The river dropped below flood stage at Sioux City, Iowa, last week. Dave Becker, operations manager of Gavins Point Dam at Yankton, says releases from the dam have been cut from a record 160,000 cubic feet per second at the peak down to 90,000, where they’re holding.
Becker says, “The primary purpose of staying at 90,000 is really so everybody can take a look at their facilities, the levees, the berms, their sandbag walls, all those kinds of things and make sure that everything is in really good condition.” Becker says the lower releases and the pause will allow the inspection of the dam itself in and near the river.
“Everything is going well, thus far,” he says. “I talk to people every day who are assessing their property and their situation. It’s good that we have this pause in here so people can see what needs to be done at this point and possibly react before we start going down further.”
The U-S Army Corps of Engineers had to do a lot of re-rocking of river banks close to the dam during the high water as erosion was blasting it away. Becker says there have been no surprises.
“We have not had any catastrophic issues,” he says. “A lot of minor wear-and-tear things will take some time to get fixed up and we’re starting to fix those already.” Thousands of acres of farmland and dozens of homes were flooded for most of the summer in Iowa and Nebraska as the Corps worked to move record amounts of snow melt and heavy upstream rain down the Missouri.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton