Water from Dickinson reservoir released to help Heart River
If the Heart River seems to be running at a little faster clip over the next couple of days, there's a good reason for it.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is releasing water from the Dickinson Reservoir at Patterson Lake to help mitigate the risk of further flooding on the Heart River.
"We're taking the opportunity to lower the reservoir to make storage space available in case we get a fast runoff we could potentially alleviate some flooding conditions downstream," Bureau of Reclamation spokesperson Arden Freitag said.
Patterson Lake has filled to the point in the last few weeks that water was flowing over the spillway at the Bastille gate at the Dickinson Dam.
Forecasts place the temperatures in the 30s and 40s later this week, which will like melt some of the 30 inches of snowfall the area has gotten in the last two weeks.
"It is in anticipation of additional runoff from the snowfall that we've gotten in the last week or so," said Greg Gere, deputy area manager for the Bureau of Reclamation. "Our primary interest in doing this is to provide a small amount of flood control benefit primarily right through the city there in Dickinson."
The reservoir will be drawn down about three to three and a half feet over the next few days. The manually controlled releases will be limited to about 1,000 cubic feet per second, but went as high as 2,000 cfs on March 18.
"It'll be open now until we evacuate that pool down to the bottom of the Bastille gate, or until the inflows start coming in and then the gate will start controlling those releases," Gere said.
Freitag said the Dickinson Reservoir is not a flood control reservoir and only so much can be done, but this has been done before.
"It's just kind of an extraordinary operation based on the current conditions," Freitag said. "Without this recent snowfall we probably wouldn't have considered it."