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Water Flows Decreasing After Peak Amount

By Bill Vander Weele

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that water flows from Fort Peck will be decreasing early this month.

Mike Swenson of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said after the end of the second peak of water at 20,000 cubic feet per second in Wolf Point, flows began stepping down on Wednesday, June 26.

Wolf Point reached the 20,000 cfs early last week and then reached that amount in Culbertson later. Swenson said the amount dropped to 19,000 cfs in Wolf Point early on June 26 and will drop by a thousand cfs each day for several days.

Swenson added that the spillway at Fort Peck will close on Wednesday, July 3. Fort Peck is scheduled to have an amount of 8,000 cfs on Saturday, July 6.

Joe Bonneau, Missouri River Recovery Program manager, reported that physical monitoring and physical surveying are ongoing at pump sites.

As far as fish monitoring, pallid sturgeon appear to be making their way upstream because of the second peak of water flow. Ideally, they will move all the way to the spillway. The hope is that the pallid sturgeon will spawn and then head back downstream.

Bonneau said the weekly informative calls will detail more of what the fish have done including how far they have gone upstream and whether they are spawning.

The public is reminded to use extreme caution near the river with the increase in water levels.

The 2018 Biological Opinion requires the test under the Endangered Species Act for operation of the Missouri River Mainstream Reservoir System. The purpose of the test flows is to evaluate the potential for achieving pallid sturgeon spawning and recruitment on the upper Missouri River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Water Management Division started its weekly virtual meetings on Wednesdays on April 24, to keep residents updated on the status of Fort Peck test flows.

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