Hoeven Urges Army Corps to Manage Missouri River Levels to Prevent Flooding

Senator Emphasizes Importance of Keeping Public Informed as to Forecasted River Levels

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven today spoke with Col. John Hudson, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District, urging him to ensure that increased flows from the Garrison Dam do not result in flooding downstream. Earlier this week, the Army Corps announced that it would be increasing releases from the reservoir by 8,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), up to 52,000 cfs, resulting in the Missouri River reaching a level of 12 feet. Hoeven made the call after hearing from Bismarck-Mandan residents about increased flooding concerns in the region. The senator received an update on the Corps’ efforts to manage water levels between Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon, while also ensuring flows from the dam do not negatively impact communities along the river. The Corps indicated that they would provide an update tomorrow morning to keep the public informed on forecasted river levels.

“I’ve been concerned about the river levels on the Missouri, so I contacted the Corps of Engineers. They will be increasing the flows, but still keeping the river a foot-and-a-half below flood level at Bismarck. So we’re going to continue to monitor this very carefully and work with the Corps both to prevent flooding but also to keep the public informed,” said Hoeven.

Hoeven has long made the case that flood control and the protection of life and property should be the top priority for the Corps. Today’s call reinforces the senator’s previous efforts to prevent future disasters and advance recovery efforts following the historic flooding along the Missouri River in 2011, which included significant impacts in the Bismarck-Mandan region.

“The increased flows from the Garrison Dam represent a real concern for downstream communities,” said Hoeven. “We need to ensure the entire river system is being managed in a way that prevents an unexpected rise in river levels, that includes releases from Garrison Dam as well as from dams further downstream. Col. Hudson understands that this is a top priority, and we will continue to work with him to monitor the situation and ensure the flood risk is minimized.”

As a member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee, Hoeven works to provide strong support for water infrastructure and flood control efforts in North Dakota. To this end, Hoeven included funding and provisions in the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Energy and Water funding legislation that advance comprehensive, regional flood protection for the state. This includes increased funding for Army Corps’ construction, Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program development and implementation and support for public-private partnerships to help address the Corps’ project backlog.