With record Missouri River reservoir water releases in upriver states planned over the next few weeks, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) is contacting senior U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials and has instructed staff to work with local Ameren UE officials in an attempt to address these dangerous and destructive threats to river communities stemming from the massive water releases into the Missouri River.
Rapidly changing weather conditions and winter runoff in Montana, northern Wyoming and the western Dakotas have prompted the Corps of Engineers to make adjustments to previously announced reservoir releases to beyond historic levels in the next few weeks. Luetkemeyer has already discussed the situation directly with Brig. Gen. John McMahon, commander of the Northwestern Division of the Army Corps of Engineers, and Luetkemeyer's staff is scheduled to meet with Ameren officials on Wednesday.
"These historic Missouri River reservoir releases pose a serious and immediate threat to our Missouri River communities. I have been engaged, and will continue to be engaged, with the leadership of the Corps of Engineers to try and lessen the impact of what is to come over the next couple of weeks," Luetkemeyer said. "I am very concerned about the impact these significant releases could have on our hard-working river communities in Missouri, and after talking with local folks I still remain hopeful that the Corps of Engineers and Ameren will work with these communities and my office to find a solution."
The releases out of Montana, northern Wyoming and the western Dakotas could double previous record releases in some areas along the northern Missouri River, potentially impacting every farmer, business and community along the river.
For example, yesterday's release from Gavins Point Dam on the Nebraska/South Dakota border was 75,000 cubic feet of water per second. The projected release is expected to increase to 85,000 cubic feet of water per second by June 2, and then 130,000 cubic feet of water per second by June 7. According to the Corps, conservative water level assessments estimate that 11 Missouri levees could be overtopped, while under a high flow scenario, 62 levees could be overtopped.