Missouri River Water Management News

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District Garrison Project announces 2019-2020 winter access policy

Published Jan. 10, 2020

  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Garrison Project, announced their 2019-2020 winter access policy this week. This year there will be 113 areas/points of entry to Lake Sakakawea and 20 areas/points of entry to Lake Audubon.

The areas/points of entry are a combination of boat ramps, shoreline access sites, and freeways located in limited development areas. Only a couple of these points will be foot traffic only, mainly due to terrain. Entry points, defined in the policy, are available for the period of the calendar year in which Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon freeze over until April 1 of each calendar year, or until the lake becomes ice free, whichever occurs first.

Three ice access locations have been removed from the approved list. The first of which is the Red Mike Mid Gate Shoreline Access, located just east of Lund’s Landing (White Tail Bay). This access crosses through private property and may be opened at a later date. There are also two areas near Riverdale that are no longer approved ice access locations. The Lake Sakakawea State Park East of Cabin Area and Old Highway 83 South access locations, due too severe erosion in 2019. These areas are currently unsafe and should not be used for accessing the ice.

The Corps of Engineers now updates and maintains an interactive web application pertaining to ice access locations. The web application displays all approved ice access locations and their status. There are two ways that users can access the data. There is a web link

(https://arcg.is/jTe0T) that can be used on any computer or smart phone. Users can also download the ESRI application on either iPhone or Android. The ESRI application is free. Open the ESRI application and search "Lake Sakakawea Ice Access."

The Corps of Engineers does not encourage or recommend driving on the ice at any time.  For those that do recreate on the ice, the Omaha District urges extreme caution as any winter activity performed on the ice can be hazardous. For instance, thin ice or open water may exist near springs and pressure ridges throughout the winter.

Anglers are required to use only licensed, motorized vehicles and existing authorized public roads for entering and leaving ice fishing access areas. Some public roads often drift closed with snow and will not be plowed open. In these instances, operating a motor vehicle off-road to obtain access is not allowed. Additionally, the public is reminded that access is for ice fishing purposes only. Restrictions are in place to preclude using the ice to cross the reservoir, which has occurred in some areas in the past few years.

All Title 36 Regulations apply to the Ice Fishing Access Sites. North Dakota Game and Fish WMA Regulations apply within all Wildlife Management Areas located on Corps lands around the reservoir. Additionally, North Dakota Game and Fish has specific regulations pertaining to the use of ice/fish/spearing houses within the State of North Dakota.

Have fun this winter and be safe; “ALWAYS, KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.” Check in with someone who is near the particular body of water where you are accessing. Bait shops, outfitters, game wardens, and public land managers are all valuable sources for ice condition updates.

Please See the Omaha District website and Facebook page for future updates pertaining to Ice Access. This includes, but is not limited to, closures/openings of access areas.

The policy indicating the designated areas on Lake Sakakawea is available here.

For additional information contact: the Corps of Engineers office in Riverdale (701-654-7411) or Williston (701-572-6494), or North Dakota Game & Fish Office in Riverdale (701-654-7475) or Williston (701-774-4320).

Corps of Engineers in Riverdale or Williston
701-654-7411 or 701-572-6494
North Dakota Game & Fish Office in Riverdale or Williston
701-654-7475 or 701-774-4320

Release no. 20-007