KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Due to ongoing challenging conditions with wet soils and higher than normal river levels across the Missouri River Basin, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District is canceling plans to increase water levels in reservoirs for the spring as stated in the annual water level management plans.
This temporary modification will better position the Kansas City District’s reservoirs to receive spring runoff, and manage for locally heavy rainfall following record lake levels across the district last year. Nine of 18 district reservoirs reached record pools in 2019. Flood control operations at Kansas City District Reservoirs and Bureau of Reclamation lakes prevented $131 million in damages in Kansas and $2.27 billion in damages in Missouri during the 2019 flood event. Life safety and flood control are primary factors in reservoir operations throughout the Missouri River Basin.
In normal years, a water level increase in the lakes benefits fish spawning because it allows a lake to gradually rise above the multipurpose pool, keeping the eggs under water. Increases in pool levels will still occur for reservoirs that are below the top of the multi-purpose pool; however, any portion of the water level management plan which called for a rise into the flood control pool will be temporarily canceled.
Kanopolis Lake in Marquette, Kan. is excluded from this modification and will be allowed to rise from elevation 1463.0 to 1466.0 to ensure sufficient water for downstream users, minimizing the support necessary from the gated outlet works.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District will continue to monitor river and reservoir conditions throughout the year.