Hears concerns and commits to flexible water releases this winter, spring
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently concluded eight open house sessions and public meetings in cities throughout the Missouri River basin to listen to the concerns of citizens. Brig. Gen. John McMahon, Northwestern Division Commander, said,
“The top priority of the Northwestern Division is to responsibly prepare for the 2012 runoff season.”
According to the Corps, the approach to the Missouri River will change in the coming season. First, the Corps will assume a more flexible posture as water is evacuated through the system for the remainder of the fall and early winter. “We will get as much water out of the system as possible as weather permits and the repair work allows,” said Jody Farhat, Chief of the Water Management Division.
Second, the Corps will take an aggressive stance with winter and spring releases.
Third, the Corps will communicate more frequently and more broadly as the 2012 season unfolds. Farhat will conduct bi-monthly conference calls. During those calls, conversation will continue with officials, emergency management officials and the press to discuss conditions on the ground and current Corps’ reservoir release plans and forecasts. Audio files of the conference calls will be widely available.
A primary concern raised in the public meetings was the Corps’ strategy to only evacuate water from the reservoir system back to the designated amount of flood control storage. “We set the target in late July as an initial first step to safely drawdown historic releases in time for people to get back into their homes, farms and businesses, and for the Corps and state agencies to begin making repairs as quickly as possible,” said McMahon.
View daily and forecasted reservoir and river information on the Water Management section of the Northwestern Division homepage at http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc.
The final version of the Annual Operating Plan is expected to be complete by the end of December.