Missouri River Water Management News

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Second drawdown of Cunningham Reservoir planned due to high runoff, fish renovation planned for June

Published April 12, 2019

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will drawdown Glenn Cunningham Reservoir a second time as the high runoff event in March 2019 caused the reservoir to refill, delaying progress in the efforts to control the invasive zebra mussels and overabundant common carp.

Beginning in October 2018, the Corps of Engineers had initiated a drawdown of Glenn Cunningham Reservoir as a part of a multiagency initiative with the City of Omaha and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to control zebra mussels and common carp. The goal of the drawdown was to expose zebra mussels to freezing temperatures and dry them out while also eliminating common carp to improve the fishery. The reservoir was lowered almost 20 feet by late November 2018 and the lakebed was exposed to harsh winter conditions.

From March 9-13, 2019 a combination of rain, snowmelt, and frozen ground resulted in significant runoff into Cunningham Reservoir, and the low-level gate was closed to minimize flood risks immediately downstream. The current reservoir elevation is approximately 1120.2 feet, about 1.5 feet below the normal reservoir elevation.

Conditions downstream are being considered in the decision to lower the reservoir. The drawdown will begin shortly to ensure the reservoir is prepared for final fish renovation, which is tentatively planned for early June. The NGPC will restock the lake with a variety of fish such as bass, bluegill, channel catfish, black crappie, walleye and white bass.

Due to safety concerns, all remaining entrances to the reservoir south of Bennington Road, will be closed. No vehicular or pedestrian traffic will be allowed. Entrances and facilities north of Bennington Road, including the Archery Range, will still be available.

For any questions or concerns please contact Brook Bench, City of Omaha at 402-444-5902, Jeff Jackson, NGPC at 402-471-7647, or Kelsey Jolley, USACE 402-996-3752.

Brook Bench, Parks and Recreation Director, City of Omaha Parks, Recreation, & Public Property
1819 Farnam Street #701 Omaha, NE 68183

Release no. 19-027