The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rathbun Lake, located on the Chariton River in south central Iowa, will begin releasing water at the rate of 2,000 cubic feet per second, higher than seasonally normal. The releases are in response to recent widespread rain events with the intent to lower the level of water currently 17 feet higher than normal.
Rathbun Lake’s flood control pool was half-full until rain events began May 25, which filled the pool to approximately 72 percent full requiring water to be released in order to minimize the possibility of the flood control pool filling to its capacity.
Following the lake’s similar situation in 2010, the Corps of Engineers plans more aggressive releases to minimize the possibility of water passing through the spillway which does not have any control structures in place to regulate water.
At this time the Corps of Engineers does not anticipate releases any larger than the 3,000 cfs as made during the 2010 high water event. Chariton River channel data collected during that event shows the river had capability to contain this volume within the banks. However, the situation will be closely monitored and Corps personnel will maintain close communication upon increasing releases with effected interests downstream, both private and public.
Following the events of 2010, the Corps’ began a formal revision to the Rathbun Lake Water Control Manual with an anticipated completion in late 2015 or early 2016. A public meeting was held for this effort May 22 explaining the process, answering questions and collecting input on all aspects of lake water management operations.
For more information, contact the Rathbun Lake Project Manager at (641) 647-2464,or the Kansas City District Water Management Office at (816) 389-3545.