Verifying Water Flow on Mouse River - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Verifying Water Flow on Mouse River

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The slow increase in water flow continues along the Mouse River, even before any significant snow melt occurs.

This morning, releases at Lake Darling Dam at the

Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge were pushed up to 800 cubic feet per second.

That's only slightly below the releases now reported from Canadian dams on the river - Rafferty and Alameda dams are allowing a total of about 850 cfs through their gates.

All three reservoirs are below the levels required in the 1989 international agreement that governs river management.

The water releases this spring are being done to make room for snow melt in the system from a snow pack that's rated as above normal.

But those releases can be tricky when the river channel is frozen downstream of the dam.

Officials say they are increasing water flow slowly to avoid causing rapid ice breakup and potential flooding from ice jams.

They say right now the ice is showing signs of pressure ridges as the water rushes past under the ice - and that's what they like to see.

At Baker Bridge - just downstream of Lake Darling Dam - a scientist with the US Geological Survey was measuring the exact flow of the Mouse River this morning, when releases from the dam were at 700 CFS.

The chart on the National Weather Service website says based on the river level at that gage, the flow is about 11-hundred CFS.

Brent Hanson says the actual flow this morning was quite a bit lower than that.

(Brent Hanson, US Geological Survey) "Currently going through here is right around 650 CFS. Due to the ice conditions it's difficult to accurately estimate without current readings. The shore ice and other things downstream is currently backing up the water. Our river is currently not as efficient."

He says his readings show the Lake Darling Dam is releasing about what operators figured it was.

And again, the Lake Darling releases are at about 800 CFS as of today.

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