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Corps of Engineers begins winter draw downs of its reservoirs

Published Nov. 14, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, recently started its annual winter draw down of nine of its Minnesota and North Dakota reservoirs.

Red River of North basin: 

Lake Traverse, near Wheaton, Minn., is currently at its conservation elevation of 976.8 +/- 0.2 feet. The gates at Mud Lake are closed. Lake Traverse will be drawn down in March between 1.5-3 feet, depending on the amount of snow water content in the basin. 

Orwell Reservoir, near Fergus Falls, Minn., is currently at its conservation elevation of 1,064.0 +/- 0.5 feet. The pool may be drawn down in March, depending on the amount of snow water content in the basin. Maximum drawdown at Orwell is elevation 1,050.0 feet.       

Baldhill Dam, near Valley City, N.D., began its draw down in October. Conservation elevation is
1,266.0 +/- 0.2 feet. The goal is to reach elevation 1,262.5 feet by the end of February. During the winter, the snow water content in the basin will be monitored and changes to the target drawdown and date may be changed. Maximum drawdown at Baldhill is elevation 1,255.0 feet. 

Homme Dam, located near Park River, N.D., began its fall drawdown on Nov. 3. Conservation elevation is 1,079.8 +/- 0.2 feet. The pool is currently at elevation 1,077.3 feet. Drawdown target is dependent on snow water content in the basin.   

Minnesota River basin:

Lac qui Parle, near Montevideo, Minn, was raised from its summer conservation elevation of 933.0 +/- 0.2 feet to its winter conservation elevation of 934.0 +/- 0.2 feet in September. The winter raise enhances conditions for fish survival.

Mississippi Headwaters basin:

Gull Lake, near Brainerd, Minn., will be gradually drawn down during the fall and winter, and the final elevation level will be determined by the winter snow water content.

Cross Lake, near Crosslake, Minn., started its draw down Oct. 1. The target elevation is 1,228.3 feet at the end of November. The final draw down level will be determined by the winter snow water content.

Big Sandy Lake, near Libby, Minn., also started its draw down Oct. 1. The normal draw down is to elevation 1,214.31 feet, or 2 feet below the middle of the summer band.

Pokegama Lake, near Grand Rapids, Minn., is currently releasing flows. The normal drawdown is to elevation 1,270.42 feet, or 3 feet below middle of the summer band.

Leech Lake, near Federal Dam, Minn., began its draw down Oct. 1. The final level will be determined by the winter snow water content.

Winnibigoshish Lake, near Deer River, Minn., also began its draw down Oct. 1. The final level will be determined by the winter snow water content.

The nearly 700 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2011 $175 million budget, nearly 2,800 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $271 million to the national economy. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.

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Release no. 14-091