At some point in time all the Missouri River main stem projects will cease to provide the authorized purposes. At present time there are no plans in place to address operations once the projects fill with sediment.

Pg. 3 Niobrara and Missouri Rivers, South Dakota and Nebraska – Reconnaissance Report November 2001 USACE

 

Dams stop the freeflow of water in the Missouri. Along with bringing enormous benefits including flood control, these massive structures trap silt and sand in the still water of the reservoirs. So far, about 7% of the system’s water storage is filled with sediment. As you can see, the ability to store water in the reservoirs is slowly diminishing. And with that, all of the System’s benefits decline. Less water storage means a lessened ability for the System to function as designed and as it should.

At Lewis and Clark Lake, the smallest reservoir, the changes aren’t so gradual. By the year 2045 – that’s just over 30 years from today — expect half the reservoir to be filled with sediment. Although this lake does little for flood control, it generates electricity, supports several drinking water systems and is a thriving spot for recreation.

Take a look around our website and learn more about sedimentation in the Missouri River reservoirs and what we can do together to address this problem.