JAMESTOWN, N.D. — Cold weather is prompting an earlier than planned reduction in releases from the Jamestown and Pipestem dams this fall, according to information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"With below normal temperatures observed and forecast in Jamestown, river ice downstream of Jamestown and Pipestem reservoirs could form as soon as Nov. 11," said the news release.
The Corps will begin reductions in releases on Sunday, Nov. 3. The reductions will amount to 100 cubic feet per second each day from each reservoir for a combined daily reduction in releases of 200 cfs.
The daily reductions will continue until Nov. 10 when the combined releases will amount to 800 cfs.
Temperatures and river conditions will be continually monitored. If the conditions or forecasts change, the combined releases will be held at 1,400 cfs until three days before the new ice forecast date.
Original plans had called for combined releases to stay at 2,400 cfs until about Nov. 25, the historic average date river ice forms in the James River basin. At that time releases would be reduced to 800 cfs until sometime in January when the reservoir levels would reach normal winter levels.
The new schedule will require the 800 cfs winter releases to remain in place longer to reduce the reservoir levels.
"However, additional precipitation or higher than expected baseflow could necessitate higher release levels," said the news release.
Officials have warned the continued winter releases will create unsafe ice conditions on the James River and the Jamestown and Pipestem reservoirs. Travel and recreation on the Jamestown and Pipestem reservoirs once the ice forms has been banned by the Stutsman County Sheriff's Office for this winter.