Sakakawea above earlier projections

The water level of Lake Sakakawea continues to trend above earlier projections, good news for lake interests.

The Aug. 1 runoff projections issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show an end-of-month elevation of 1,834.7 feet for Lake Sakakawea. That compares to a level of 1,833.0 feet projected one month earlier.

According to the Corps, total runoff into the Missouri River system for 2013 is now projected to reach 22.7 million acre feet. As late as May 1, the Corps was anticipating only 20.0 maf of runoff. The increase in runoff has led to lake levels becoming higher than what was expected early in the recreation season.

For example, the May 1 outlook projected Lake Sakakawea to dip to 1,830.0 feet by the end of August. The most recent projection calls for nearly a five foot increase over what was expected in early May.

Looking ahead, Lake Sakakawea is now projected to end September at 1,834.1 feet and October at 1,833.5 feet. That compares to July 1 estimates of 1,832.4 feet and 1,831.9 feet respectively.

With Sakakawea maintaining a level favorable to boaters this season, there have been no difficulties in accessing boat ramps. Aug. 1 projections have Lake Sakakawea dropping to 1,829.0 feet at the end of February, just prior to the beginning of the spring runoff season.