The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced the end of Fort Peck Dam’s spillway release for this year. It’s been a long time coming, and spillway flood releases from Fort Peck Dam will end Friday, said John Daggett, Operations project manager at Fort Peck.
On Friday, remaining releases of 9,000 cubic feet per second will pass through the power houses. Fort Peck’s spillway released record levels of floodwater this year and has been flowing for a record 121 straight days.
Released water thundered from the spillway at up to 52,000 cfs during the flood releases in June.
It has been a record breaking year for the dam. The reservoir reached an elevation of 2,252.3 feet above mean sea level, breaking the previous record height of 2,251.6 feet msl set in 1975. The record peak daily discharge from the dam and spillway totaled 65,900 thousand cfs in June, almost twice the previous record discharge amount of 35,400 cfs, which was also set in 1975.
Despite the record flood year, visitation was up at the dam and reservoir, according to Daggett. “Our campgrounds and interpretive center have both had increased visitation from previous years,” Daggett said. “The two big visitor draws were the spillway releases and the excellent fishing this summer.”
Daggett said the dam and spillway performed very well during this record event. “We will be assessing the condition of all of our facilities this fall and making needed repairs,” Daggett said. “There will be focus on the spillway. We know we have some concrete repairs, and will look at the erosion immediately downstream of the spillway.”
The project plans to complete any needed repairs on the dam and spillway before next year’s runoff season. Another priority will be to lower the reservoir 4 more feet by March 1 from today’s pool of 2,238.0 feet msl to 2,234.0 msl. March 1 is the target date for the Missouri River mainstem system to reach a flood storage level of 16.3 million acre feet. Fort Peck’s share of this total flood storage is 22.6 percent or 3.675 million acre feet.