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Fort Peck Dam Water Release Delayed

Not long after announcing flow reductions out of Fort Peck Dam, the Army Corps of Engineers has decided not to implement the reduction to help farmers irrigate downstream.

The agency announced in a recent press release that the reduction from 7,800 cubic feet per second down to 4,000 cfs will be delayed until the end of September, due to the ongoing drought and extremely dry weather in eastern Montana.

“We have assessed the potential impacts of this action and determined that this would have minimal impacts in the upper basin, and no impacts on the Missouri River mainstem reservoir system’s overall ability to meet its authorized purposes given the change will not impact total system storage,” said John Remus, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division, in a press release.

“The primary impacts to be expected include slightly less power generation capacity through the upcoming winter and a slightly lower Fort Peck Lake pool at the beginning of the 2023 runoff season.”

The proposal to reduce flows would have left Fort Peck Reservoir at an elevation of about 2,220 feet by the end of September, down almost a foot from August. Inflows to the reservoir are about 6,000 cfs. With the change in water releases, the Corps predicted the lake pool will be 1 to 1.5 feet lower by next March.

Given the low water situation, the Corps said it understands the important role of the Missouri River in providing water for irrigation, municipal and industrial uses throughout the basin.

Current release information from Fort Peck Dam can be found at nwd-mr.usace. FTPK.

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