Sakakawea to exceed 2013 levels

RIVERDALE Lake Sakakawea is expected to reach a water level 10 feet higher than during the summer of 2013 but will remain well within the reservoir’s flood control zone.

According to June runoff projections issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Missouri River System is expected to receive 31.1 million acre feet of water in 2014. That is a decrease from what was earlier projected. The May runoff outlook called for 31.7 maf.

Lake Sakakawea’s water elevation at the end of May was 1,839.8 feet, a mere one-tenth of a foot higher than on the same date in 2013. Despite the recent similarities, Lake Sakakawea is expected to see a peak elevation of 1,846.2 feet at the end of July. If that occurs, the reservoir would be nearly 10 feet higher than its peak in 2013.

“We are within our annual multi-purpose flood control zone,” said Todd Lindquist, Corps’ project manager. “The forecast looks pretty good for management of the project and it should be a good year for the fish spawn and for recreation.”

The flood control zone for Lake Sakakawea is from 1,837.5 to 1,850 feet. Spillway elevation is 1,854 feet.

“Typically we get mountain snowpack in June and July,” said Lindquist. “At the current projections we are well within our target zone.”

When water levels on Lake Sakakawea are too low or too high it causes a variety of problems from boat ramp utilization to erosion. Although this year the reservoir is projected to be approximately 10 feet higher than a year ago, no problems are anticipated. Lake Sakakawea’s long-term average elevation for May through October is 1,838.08 feet. The reservoir stood at 1,840.7 feet Wednesday.