US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
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180 5th St. E., Suite 700
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (651) 290-5807
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Aerial image of Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam

Corps of Engineers begins winter drawdowns in Red River of the North basin

Published Feb. 26, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is lowering its reservoir elevations within the Red River of the North basin in anticipation of spring snow melt.

The Corps is currently lowering the elevation of Lake Ashtabula, located near Valley City, North Dakota. The current elevation is 1,260.0 feet NGVD29, and it will be further drawn down as far as 1,255 feet NGVD29.

Elevation at the Homme Dam, near Park River, North Dakota, is currently at 1,077.1 feet NGVD29, and, based on winter snow pack, the reservoir will be drawn down to at least elevation 1,064 feet NGVD29. Releases will be delayed until the weather warms to limit ice jamming.

Lake Traverse, near Wheaton, Minnesota, is currently at 977.3 feet MSL 1912 feet and will be drawn down to elevation 975.5 feet MSL 1912 feet. Spring melt conditions are continually monitored and additional drawdown may occur based on snow pack. Discharges may reach 800 cubic feet per second, or cfs, during drawdown.

The pool elevation at Orwell Lake, near Fergus Falls, Minnesota, is currently 1,063.90 feet MSL 1912 feet. The pool will be lowered to 1,055 feet MSL 1912 feet. The pool may be lowered further based on conditions. Discharges are dependent on inflow and will likely remain under 700 cfs.

The pool for the Lac Qui Parle Reservoir will be lowered 1-foot to 933 from 934.0 NGVD29 during the period March 1 to March 15 to prepare for spring runoff. Outflow from the reservoir during the drawdown period is likely to be between 800 and 1,200 cfs. Current outflow is approximately 600 cfs.

Drawdown releases may degrade river ice downstream of the reservoirs and care should be taken for those recreating or working in these areas.

Spring drawdowns are done in concurrence with snow surveys, which are nearing completion. Surveys help determine how much water is contained within snow to help determine drawdown levels.

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Release no. UNRELEASED