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Col. Robert Newbauer: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin Fort Peck Flow Test

Published April 12, 2024
Updated: April 12, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct a flow test at Fort Peck starting no sooner than April 26, 2024, with a scheduled completion date of no later than September 1, 2024.

This test is in accordance with the 2018 Biological Opinion, required under the Endangered Species Act for operation of the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System.

As established in the November 12, 2021, Record of Decision, and analyzed in the September 24, 2021, Fort Peck Dam Test Release Final Environmental Impact Statement, this test is subject to very strict guidelines designed to avoid and minimize any associated impacts.

Regardless, we do understand you may still have concerns about this test. But please know, as stewards of the land, water and the people, creatures and history of this area, we not only manage the reservoir system, but we also live and work here too.

When the test starts, releases from Fort Peck Dam will be adjusted until a peak flow of 18,000 cubic feet per second is achieved at Wolf Point, Montana, on or about May 1 and held for approximately three days. This peak flow is intended to attract pallid sturgeon up the Missouri River for spawning.

Releases will then be lowered to about 12,500 cfs and held through about June 15.

In late June, flows will be gradually increased to a target of 22,500 cfs and held for three days until about July 1, which is intended to induce spawning for the pallid sturgeon. As a reference, very similar flow peaks were observed at Wolf Point in April and June 2023.

Following the second peak, releases will be lowered to 8,000 cfs and hold steady through Sept. 1 when test flows will be substantially complete.

Throughout this process, your observations are vitally important and encouraged and we are committed to keeping you informed on how the test is progressing. We invite you to call into our weekly virtual updates. Login information for the weekly updates can be found here:


Once the test begins, any observed erosion or damage should be reported to us as soon as possible. Please do your best to characterize the circumstances with as much detail as possible. Include the date(s) of your inspections, the observed impact(s) and photographs such as describing and characterizing sediment deposits or erosion you believe to be causing impacts.

If possible, also please include a description of the long-term and short-term frequency and intensity of your first-hand observations. Additionally, please document and report any actions taken to mitigate risk prior to the test, actions taken to repair potential damage following the test, issues that occurred during the irrigation season, and any long-term potential impacts that were not addressed.

Once again, we appreciate your understanding and support as we strive to document the potential impacts of this flow test.

If you have any questions related to runoff management (release rates, anticipated stage changes, pool levels, etc.) please contact the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division at Missouri.Water.Management@nwd02.usace.army.mil.

If you have questions related to fish response, monitoring and ongoing stakeholder engagements, etc., please contact the Missouri River Recovery Program at mrrp@usace.army.mil.

Release no. 24-005