Corps of Engineers will publish final operating plan

Corps of Engineers will publish final operating plan The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will publish its Final Annual Operating Plan for the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System later this month.

A draft of the plan was published in late September and made available to the public. Three public meetings were conducted on the draft plan from Oct. 15-17 at Williston, ND, Sioux City, IA, and Jefferson City, MO.

"Our challenge is to meet the multiple purposes for which the Missouri River main stem system was authorized. With the upper basin suffering from a moderate drought, the focus for the upcoming year will be one of water conservation," said Col. David Fastabend, Northwestern Division engineer. "We expect a navigation season of normal length but, unless the drought breaks, anticipate reduced service levels. The Final AOP is very similar to the draft presented at the October public meetings."

In addition to the water management computer simulations shown in the draft, the final includes five-year extensions to the simulations. These extended simulations are presented to aid basin interests in long-term planning.

A minimum winter release rate of 13,000 cubic feet per second was used in the AOP studies.

"Releases this winter should be high enough to provide adequate service to downstream intakes," said Fastabend. "During ice formation periods, we will continue to provide modest short-term increases in Gavins Point releases to help alleviate water supply intake problems along the river."

Releases to support navigation next year will be in accordance with the operational objectives presented in the existing Master Water Control Manual.

"Flow support for the 2002 navigation season will begin on schedule on April 1, but at reduced levels. The exact flows will be set on March 15," he added.

The corps will distribute the final AOP later this month.

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