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Releases to increase at Jamestown, Pipestem reservoirs

Combined releases from the reservoirs will be at 750 cubic feet per second after Thursday, May 5.

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American white pelicans rest Monday, May 2, 2022, on the shore of the Jamestown Reservoir. Lake levels are rising as seen with water almost touching the bottom of the bridge leading to the island.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN – Combined releases at Jamestown and Pipestem reservoirs will increase this week after the area received precipitation over the weekend, according to Bob Martin, interim Pipestem Dam manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Martin said combined releases from the reservoirs will be at 750 cubic feet per second after Thursday, May 5.

The Jamestown area received more than 2 inches of precipitation from Friday and Saturday, April 29-30. Measurements were 2.1 inches at Jamestown Regional Airport, and the North Dakota State Hospital reported 2.74 inches of precipitation, according to Todd Hamilton, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

Releases at Pipestem Reservoir increased to 150 cfs Tuesday, May 3, and will increase to 250 cfs on Wednesday, May 4, Martin said. Releases at Jamestown Reservoir will increase from 400 cfs to 500 cfs on Thursday.

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A peninsula at the Pipestem Reservoir is almost submerged as seen Monday, May 2, 2022. Recent rains have caused area lake levels to rise.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

As of Tuesday morning, May 3, the water level at Pipestem Reservoir was at 1,467 feet above mean sea level (AMSL), which was an increase of 7 feet since the previous week. Pipestem Reservoir’s conservation pool is at 1,442.5 feet AMSL. During the winter, the water level at Pipestem dropped to 1,441 feet AMSL.

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If the water level at Pipestem Reservoir reaches 1,470 feet AMSL, the Corps of Engineers will need to increase its dam safety surveillance to once a week instead of once a month. Martin said the dam safety surveillance includes visual surveillance of areas below and above Pipestem Dam.

“We look for any type of seepage or ground movement or standing water, things like settlement,” he said. “You look for areas that could possibly be a concern.”

Jamestown Reservoir was 6 feet into the flood storage at 1,437 feet AMSL.

Martin said the Corps of Engineers will monitor the inflows and keep communicating with the city of Jamestown if anything needs to be done.

“Currently there are no activities they (city of Jamestown) need to do in town to handle this 750 cfs,” he said.

Hamilton said the Jamestown area could receive more precipitation this weekend and early next week. He said the precipitation amounts could be light on Friday and Saturday.

“As you get into Saturday into Sunday and Monday, there’s some potential for some higher precipitation amounts because I believe we do have mentions of some thunder in there,” he said. “Anytime you get thunderstorms, your chances for heavier precipitation increases because you can get higher rates falling pretty quickly.”

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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