Reservoir inflows below normal for this time of year

OMAHA, N.E.(DRGNews)- Reservoir inflows in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, were well-below average last month– which comes as no surprise to anyone who spends time on Lake Oahe.

Missouri River Power Production Team Leader for the US Army Corps of Engineers Mike Swenson says the Oahe reservoir is nearly a dozen feet below the flood control zone.

John Remus, chief of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division, says they have to manage the dams as one system, not as individual dams.

Remus says the Missouri River basin covers a lot of area.

Data from the Corps says March 2022 runoff was 1.5 million acre-feet for the month– or 48% of average.

Scott Simpson, Parks Division Director for South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. says they’ll be working to keep plenty of boat ramps open along Lake Oahe, but it probably won’t be feasible to keep every ramp open. For example, the Chantier (shan-tier) Creek boat ramp will remain closed until water levels begin to rise again. He says there are several low-water facilities GFP constructed during the low-water cycle (from 2002-2006) that may be brought back into service.

Simpson says lower water levels also require extra caution due to submerged hazards such as trees and rocks that are just under the surface. He says boaters are urged to use extreme caution when out on the water as underwater hazards are not marked.