All eyes are on the Souris

The spring of 2013 is beginning to make some residents along the Souris River a bit nervous.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday that it would increase the amount of water flowing from Lake Darling Dam to 2,300 cubic feet per second, a dramatic increase from the 800 cfs being released just days earlier. The reason, according to the Corps, is to match the Lake Darling releases to the combined amount of water being released from Rafferty Reservoir and Alameda Reservoir. The results downstream will be varied. Officials worry about potential ice jams backing up water in some areas, and the river is expected to rise by as much as two feet through Minot.

The latest releases, of course, aren’t cause for major concern at this point, given that the Souris River sits at a low level right now and can easily handle the additional flows coming downstream. One could argue that the Corps is matching Lake Darling releases to the Canadian dam releases earlier than before, and that is a good thing. Of course, the trouble with all flood control issues is that information changes on a daily basis, as evidenced by new surveys conducted this past weekend showing the amount of snow moisture on the ground in the Souris and Moose Mountain Creek drainages doubling in March.

No one is saying 2013 will turn out like 2011. Moving water through the system in early spring is generally a good thing, especially when information shows there will be adequate water to keep?Lake Darling at normal summer levels. Still, any large increase in water releases from Lake Darling understandably makes some residents of the basin nervous.

It’s spring in North Dakota, and that means anyone living near the Souris River and other areas is keeping a close eye on the river itself and the information coming from the Corps and other sources.