JAMESTOWN, N.D. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has delayed decreases to releases from Pipestem and Jamestown dams that were announced late last week, it announced Monday, Nov. 4.
"The current combined release rate will remain at 2,400 cubic feet per second until river ice is forecasted to form," said the Corps in a press release. "River ice forecasts are being continuously updated."
Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager and 911 coordinator, said the change was based on revisions to the estimated date the James River will freeze.
"The new data says they can hold off," he said, referring to the Corps of Engineers. "Reductions could start next week at this time."
On Friday, the Corps announced it would begin ramping down releases by 200 cfs per day to a planned combined release rate of 800 cfs in anticipation of a Nov. 10 expected freeze date for the James River. Bergquist said the new forecast estimates ice forming on the James River sometime between Nov. 19 and Nov. 24. Releases would be reduced at a rate of 200 cfs for about eight days prior to the anticipated "ice-in" date.
Bergquist said the delay will allow more water to flow out of the reservoirs this fall, reducing the amount that will need to flow through the winter months when ice jams on the river are a possibility.
The reservoir level at Pipestem has begun to decline from a crest of 1,475 feet on Oct. 29 to 1,473.2 feet on Nov. 4. Inflows to Pipestem Reservoir are at 650 cfs with releases of 1,200 cfs.
The level at Jamestown Reservoir continues to climb. Inflows to the reservoir are at 1,900 cfs with 1,200 cfs being released. The Jamestown Reservoir is currently at 1,441.7 feet.