The U. S. Coast Guard granted Gov. Dennis Daugaard�s request to rescind the ban on boating on a large portion of the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam before the long Labor Day weekend.
Effective at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, the Missouri River was re-opened from Mile Marker 811 near Gavins Point Dam downstream to Ponca State Park. Use of the river downstream from Ponca State Park continues to be banned.
In addition, Gov. Daugaard rescinded the state-imposed ban on boating on the lower Vermillion River and opened boat ramps on the Missouri and Vermillion rivers that were previously closed in support of the boating bans. The lifting of those bans also became effective at 6 a.m. last Saturday.
South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks staffers have surveyed those rivers and conclude that they can be safely opened for public use. However, boaters will need to exercise caution on those waters. Although flows are greatly diminished from the peak Gavins Point Dam releases of 160,000 cubic feet per second (CFS), current releases of 90,000 CFS continue to create strong currents. Boaters should control their wakes and be alert to possible hazards to navigation.
The decision to ask that the rivers be opened came after careful consideration for public safety and the potential for property damage from waves created by boating. It was determined that the potential for property damage is greatly diminished with reduced river flows.