Officials invite public comment on Rathbun Lake fall releases

Kansas City District, Northwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published July 30, 2021
A view of the outlet works at Rathbun Lake near Centerville, Iowa on July 24, 2020.

See a view of the outlet works at Rathbun Lake near Centerville, Iowa on July 24, 2020.

In 2016 in response to stakeholder input, the Corps of Engineers revised its operating guidance for Rathbun Lake. The new guidance allows for an annual opportunity, every autumn, for the lake to schedule a release of water to benefit state and privately managed conservation and recreational areas downstream in the Chariton watershed.

This release of water will not exceed 2,700 cubic feet per second from Rathbun Dam and would be sustained for no longer than 3 or 4 days, excluding ramp up and ramp down.

This release, if executed, would take place between the last week of September through early October 2021.

Public comments, available reservoir storage, downstream conditions, and weather will all be considered and evaluated prior to making the scheduled release. The release will take place only if; sufficient water is available in storage in the lake so as not to compromise water supply or on-lake recreation, downstream conditions are trending to be seasonally appropriate low flows, and the weather forecast remains favorable and free of rain as the scheduled date approaches.

Inlet structures allow water to exit the Chariton River and fill these conservation areas, which will decrease the amount of water that remains in the river to impact stages further downstream on the Chariton and Missouri Rivers.

Out of concern for private lands below the dam, the Corps will not conduct this release if National Weather Service river forecast models accounting for the release indicates either the Chariton River or Missouri River will rise to or above flood stage.  

Questions and comments regarding this water release can be directed to the Rathbun Lake Project Operation Office Manager at 641-647-2464 or the Kansas City District Water Management Office at 816-389-3545.

Kansas City District Public Affairs
Kansas City, Mo.

Release no. 21-047