Water releases from the Jamestown and Pipestem reservoirs have already been increased to 1,900 cubic feet per second, with more increases on the way, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday.
Information on how the releases will affect people and property was scant Monday as engineers from the corps, Stutsman County, the city of Jamestown, Bureau of Reclamation and Interstate Engineering were still gathering information.
High water levels this year will make the annual Gear Grinder Mountain Bike Race at Pipestem Dam a little tougher than usual.
Areas on the trails that have been used in the past are underwater, so mountain bikers will be forced to navigate a new route, said Ken Gardner, trail manager at Pipestem Dam.
"Anytime the elevation of the trail drops down, we're underwater. So we had to reroute the trail," Gardner said.
Local officials say the continued combined releases of 1,800 cubic feet per second will continue to place strains on the city’s sanitary and storm sewer systems. It is also requiring a higher level of management.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a water release plan Wednesday that includes 1,800 cfs releases through mid-to-late October. In previous years, releases of that level commonly ended no later than June.
Jamestown is holding back a record amount of water for this time of the year in its two flood-control dams.
Jamestown Reservoir was at 1,444.47 feet elevation on Tuesday afternoon and needs to drop 13.47 feet by Nov. 1, according to data from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service. Pipestem Dam was at 1,480.63 feet elevation and needs to drop by 38.13 feet by Nov. 1 as well.
“The problem is it keeps rising and it’s going to be a real balancing act to get rid of this water,” said Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager.
Releases were increased Thursday afternoon at Jamestown Reservoir from 1,550 cubic feet per second to 1,575 cfs. At Pipestem Reservoir, releases were held at 200 cfs. Including runoff within the city of Jamestown, these releases result in a flow of approximately 1,800 cfs at the James River at Jamestown stream gauge.
Releases were reduced to 1,150 cubic feet per second from the Jamestown Dam Thursday evening to make room in the river channel for forecasted rain runoff, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Releases remained at 300 cfs from the Pipestem Dam.
The corps and Bureau of Reclamation will continue to monitor rainfall forecasts and adjust releases from the dams as needed. Releases will be restored to 1,400 cfs from Jamestown and 300 cfs from Pipestem when the threat of imminent rainfall has passed.
The chance of moderate flooding along the James River and Pipestem Creek is lower, according to a new forecast from the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service is fine-tuning its forecasts for flooding along the James River and Pipestem Creek as new information becomes available, according to Allen Schlag, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.
Spring river level forecasts are much the same in an updated forecast issued by the National Weather Service Thursday.
The NWS listed a 15 percent chance of major flooding at LaMoure with a crest of 18 feet or higher, down about 22 percent from the Jan. 25 forecast.
The Pipestem Creek at Pingree was given about a 50 percent chance of moderate flooding with a crest of 11 feet or higher. This is down from about 70 percent forecast in January.
Levels at the Pipestem Dam and Jamestown Reservoir are at or near the conservation pool level, according to Bob Martin, dam manager for the Army Corps of Engineers. The conservation pool is the planned level of the lake for the winter months.
“The Pipestem is about 6 inches higher than normal at freeze-up,” Martin said. “The Jamestown Dam is at a normal level at freeze-up.”
If the level of the Pipestem Reservoir looks a little low these days you’re right. The lake level has been drawn about a foot below the normal fall level to allow for cleaning on the main spillway structure on the dam’s backside, according to Bob Martin, dam manager.
Leo, Ava and Fritz Fremgen were each double-winners at the 2010 Gear Grinder Mountain Bike Race and Pipestem Creek Trail Run/Walk.
Leo Fremgen placed first in the Beginners Division in the mountain bike race, held on Aug. 15. He won the 3-mile race in a time of 24:04.85. He also took top honors in the 3-mile run, posting a time of 24:24 in the race held Aug. 14.
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