Army Corps to step down Garrison releases ahead of winter freeze

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Colder weather means eventually the river is going to freeze up and the corps is going to be dropping the river levels down.

We were at 48,000 cubic feet per second most of the summer. If everything goes according to plan, the releases will drop to 22,000 on December 5.

The Corps says they've had to be aggressive moving water down the system late in the year because the entire Midwest has been soaked.

Two key things could decide the spring- pool elevation and groundwater.

The pool elevation number is how high the water is behind the dam. The goal is to drop the elevation to 1,837.5. We're about a foot and a half to two feet away from that mark.

Higher river levels and rain means there's more water just sitting in the ground. If we freeze wet, thawing out in spring then means less goes into the ground and will runoff into the river system. When we freeze is critical.

“We’re going to continue to be as aggressive as we can through the winter and again next spring to try and provide the entire basin as much flexibility with respect to flood risk reduction,” said John Remus, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management.

One piece of good news is the Corps says it is ahead of schedule moving water out of downstream dams.