The Corps' latest reservoir regulation studies indicate additional drought conservation measures will be enacted for the Missouri River Mainstem System as the navigation season is set to begin.
Minimum navigation flow support will likely be provided for the first half of the Missouri River navigation season based on the anticipated storage check results, which are expected to show system storage below levels required to support full service navigation flow support.
The navigation season will open on April 1 at the mouth near St. Louis.
Releases from Gavins Point will be stepped up beginning around March 18 to provide flow support for the 2013 navigation season. The level of flow support for the second half of the navigation season and the season length will be made following the system storage check on July 1. Minimum-service flow targets range from 25,000 cfs at Sioux City, Iowa to 35,000 cfs at Kansas City, Mo. and are designed to provide a navigation channel that is 8 feet deep by 200 feet wide. This may require barge operators to carry lighter loads. Full service navigation flows provide a 9-foot by 300-foot channel.
The navigation season opening dates are as follows: locations are:
• March 23 – Sioux City, Iowa
• March 25 – Omaha, Nebraska
• March 26 – Nebraska City, Nebraska
• March 28 – Kansas City, Missouri
• April 1 – Mouth near St. Louis, Missouri
The continuing drought conditions in the upper Missouri River basin indicate less-than-normal runoff in 2013. Based on the current soil moisture and snowpack conditions, 2013 runoff in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa is forecast to be 20.0 million acre feet (MAF), 81% of normal for the calendar year.