Low water levels could hinder Missouri River access

September 11, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Officials say a planned reduction in releases out of Garrison Dam could lower Missouri River water levels by as much 2 feet in coming weeks.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the drop will affect private boat docks and marinas along the river and likely call into service public low water boat ramps that have been unused for more than a decade.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to slow releases over the next several weeks. The agency says the 2-foot drop along the Missouri River is a level that will hold until the river ices over.

The Corps says the reduced releases are not uncommon is dry years.

The immediate effect could be a loss of access to the river for some people, especially pontoon owners.

Garrison Project Operations Manager Todd Lindquist said a number of low water ramps were installed during the drought of the early 2000s. Officials are coordinating with concessionaires and leases for access to those ramps.