An early spring release of a significant amount of water continues on the Souris-Mouse River system.
Canadian dams began releasing about 28-hundred cubic feet per second of water late yesterday.
It will take a few days for that higher flow to hit Lake Darling, but water managers in the US have matched that output from Lake Darling Dam, hoping to make some more space in the reservoir about 15 miles northwest of Minot.
Jim Olson traveled up and down the river today to see how the river is looking.
(Jim Olson, KX News) Releases here at the Lake Darling Dam have been increased now to 2,800 CFS. That means there is now more water going out from the lake than is coming in from Canada, for now. I say "for now" because Canada has also increased its releases from the three dams near Estevan to about 28-hundred CFS as well. In the meantime, Lake Darling will have a chance to drop somewhat. So for now it's a bit of a race trying to get the level of Lake Darling down to the prescribed level without causing too many problems downstream. The issue downstream is that there is still a lot of ice on the Mouse River between Lake Darling and places like Minot and on to Sawyer and Velva and Towner and back up into Canada past Westhope. So it's an issue of trying to make space in Lake Darling while at the same time trying not to cause too many problems with higher flows on the river that still has quite a bit of ice on the surface.
Downstream from Lake Darling, the river is flowing freely here at Bakers Bridge - just downstream of the dam. The water here is now lapping at the base of the bridge on County Road 8 - and water is filling the low areas around the bridge.
Moving downstream to Burlington, the ice has now disappeared from the Mouse River. It is flowing well under the bridge at the town's east edge with plenty of levee space to handle the flow.
Farther downstream, the river ice is gone at the Boy Scout Bridge where the impacts of the ice on river levels can be clearly seen on the hydrograph from the National Weather Service. Notice how, Friday, the river was more than two feet higher than it should have been given the flow - indicated on the right side of the chart. But suddenly the level started dropping, even though flows were unchanged. That's when ice left the area, allowing the river to flow at its normal height given the CFS level moving through.
Between the Boy Scout Bridge and the city of Minot, ice is still clogging the river channel in many places. This is the 83 bypass near Tierracita Vallejo and as of Saturday morning, there was still a lot of ice evident on the river.
The same story is told here on 3rd Avenue Northwest near Oak Park where water is rushing under the ice on its trip downstream. It's that water flow under the ice that has been deteriorating the ice along the river channel, and water managers hope that continues to happen without any major ice jams that could cause localized sudden rises in the river level.
Downstream of Minot, the river is still iced over - in places like Towner - while we wait for warmer temperatures to help make it go away.
So over the next few days while more water is going out of Lake Darling heading downstream than is coming into the lake from Canada, the level of the lake will continue to drop.The question is will it get down to that level the Corps of Engineers was hoping to get it to before the snow melt portion of this spring season gets going. At Lake Darling, Jim Olson, KX News.
The river system is being managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers on the American side of the border and the Water Security Agency of Saskatchewan in Canada.