Lake Sakakawea begins decline

Lake Sakakawea appears to have peaked for 2013 and has already begun a decline that is forecast to continue through the end of the year. The reservoir received an unexpected boost in elevation due to heavy rainfall in early June, reaching nearly 1,836 feet at the end of that month. That compares to a June 1 forecast for 1,832.4 feet on June 30.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers July outlook, the total runoff into the Upper Missouri River basin is now expected to be 22.3 million acre feet of water. That is an increase of 1.1 maf over the June forecast. The latest forecast is rated 88 percent of normal for the system.

Lake Sakakawea’s elevation Wednesday was 1,835.8 feet. It is expected to drop to 1,834.4 feet by the end of the July. Looking further ahead, current projections are for the reservoir to dip to 1,830.5 feet at the end of 2013.

At the current elevation, and elevations predicted for the remainder of the boating season, no access problems are anticipated.