Canyon Ferry release causing minor flooding concerns in Ulm and Cascade

Posted at 8:06 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 22:06:34-04

Although the Missouri River is rising, there is not a huge threat to structures right now.

John Stevens with Cascade County Emergency Services said the main concern is at Ulm and Cascade.

Stevens said the Bureau of Reclamation continues to release more and more water from Canyon Ferry as it is filling up due to melting snowpack.

“So we’re feeling it downstream,” said Stevens. “They just called me this morning saying they’re going to release another 1,000 cfs [cubic feet per second] throughout the next 24, 36 hours, so we will see another slight rise in the river.”

The Bureau of Reclamation at Canyon Ferry said they coordinate with people in Billings and the National Weather Service, along with other federal offices, to gauge how much water is released.

Lee Holmes, facility operations specialists at Canyon Ferry, said they adjust flows accordingly and will fill the reservoir at the same time they release, or spill, water.

“We want that rate of fill to come up at a slow rate as possible until we get to the full pool level which is 3,797 feet elevation," he said. "At that time, we’ll have to release everything that we’re taking in.”

He added if they did that, it would flood downstream areas even more.

A record is close to being set for May for the highest inflows at Canyon Ferry.

There is close to 100,000 more acre feet of water coming through than the last record set in 1976.

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