Gavins Point Dam

The level of the Missouri River is rising, but it’s according to plan. Dave Becker, operations manager at Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota, says more water is being released to prepare for the start of boating season downriver in a few days.

“We started increasing our flows on March 19th to build up for those navigation flows,” Becker says. “We were at 17,000 (cubic feet per second) and we’re at 26,000 and working our way up to 28,000 and the plan is for us to keep it at that flow for a while to help support navigation.”

The barge season begins next weekend (April 1st) at the mouth of the Missouri, north of St. Louis. Becker says they will adjust the flows based on other incoming stream flow below the dam.

“If there’s other streams that are providing a lot of water in the river like the James, the Big Sioux, any of those downstream, if they’re really supplementing some of that water for navigation, we might not need to do that so much,” Becker says. “That is a flexible thing.”

The river has risen about three feet at Sioux City and around four feet at Omaha. Both rises are well below flood stage. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported earlier this month it has more than 95 percent of the flood storage available behind the six, main stem dams.

(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)