RIVERDALE - The July forecast for monthly water levels in Lake Sakakawea show both a slight increase and a slight decrease over previously issued outlooks. In addition, the overall forecast for runoff has been reduced from 22.2 million acre feet to 21.4 maf.
Lake Sakakawea stood at 1,837.9 feet Thursday. The June 1 outlook projected a water level approximately one and one-half feet lower. The July outlook now projects an elevation of 1,837.1 at the end of this month. That is a foot more water than was expected to be in Lake Sakakawea one month ago.
Runoff into the upper reaches of the Missouri River system continue to run below normal. In addition, the summer peak elevation for Lake Sakakawea appears to have passed in late June at about 1,837.6 feet.
Barring major rainfall that could impact the system or significant changes in the amount of water being released downstream of Garrison Dam, it is now expected that Lake Sakakawea will end 2012 at 1,834.3 feet and drop to 1,832.2 feet by the end of February 2013. The latter mark is one half foot below earlier projections.
Water levels are not expected to be an issue for recreational users of Lake Sakakawea this summer or fall. Garrison Dam releases averaged 25,400 cubic feet per second in June. The July release rate is scheduled to average 24,500 cfs.