Lake Darling Releases Continue - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Lake Darling Releases Continue

Lake Darling Releases Continue

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The Mouse River is iced over in most spots in North Dakota.

But the ice is considered unsafe because of what's going on underneath the frozen layer.

Jim Olson reports on the continued high water flows on the river to deal with a wet 2013.

We've seen lots of water pour through the Lake Darling Dam - this was during the year of the record flood in 2011.

Today, there's a relative trickle coming through the dam.

And yet, the 300 cubic feet per second being released right now is more than ever at this time of year.

(Duane Anderson, Lake Darling Dam) "I can't recall that kind of flow this early in the winter."

Duane Anderson has been setting discharge rates and inspecting the dam for decades.

(Duane Anderson, Lake Darling Dam) "We're going to monitor this quite closely through the next couple months and if we have to increase above 300 we probably will."

The reason for the higher than ever winter releases?

The very wet year across the river system and the continued releases from dams in Canada that send water down the river to Lake Darling.

(Duane Anderson, Lake Darling Dam) "We're just trying to stay ahead of what's coming in across the border with the releases at Sherwood from Alameda and Rafferty."

The flood control agreement between the US and Canada says Lake Darling must get to a level of 1596 feet by February First. The reservoir behind Rafferty Dam must be at 549.5 meters, and Alameda has to be at 561 meters by that date. All three reservoirs are close to those levels - but they're above them, and that creates the need for continued releases along the river.

(Duane Anderson, Lake Darling Dam) "The conditions we've had over the past summer with very very wet conditions out on the prairie and the landscape and the releases we're getting from the Canadian reservoirs and the fact that we do need to get the reservoir down and make some more storage has prompted us to stay with these releases."

Anderson says water managers are watching the situation closely and will take further steps if needed.

(Duane Anderson, Lake Darling Dam) "If we have to increase them we will. Obviously there's a certain point where it could create some more hazardous conditions."

Hazards due to shaky ice on the river - but hazards that can help diminish the potential for flooding in the spring of 2014. At Lake Darling, Jim Olson, KX News.

Anderson reminds you that the relatively high releases from Lake Darling are creating dangerous ice conditions along the Mouse River.

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