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Army Corps of Engineers monitoring Lac qui Parle reservoir level

The Lac qui Parle reservoir, near Watson, is at its target summer level, as Corps hopes to raise water for winter if possible.

Low water conditions are evident below the Lac qui Parle Dam, where anglers try their luck in this file photo from July 17, 2021. Tom Cherveny / West Central Tribune file photo

WATSON — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is closely monitoring water levels at its Lac qui Parle reservoir, near Watson. Below-average precipitation and drought conditions continue to impact the reservoir level and discharge.

Lac qui Parle reservoir is currently at a pool elevation of 933.3 feet and is releasing the minimum flow of 20 cubic feet per second. The summer target range is 933.0, plus or minus 0.2 feet, which is the level maintained for water supply, environmental and recreational benefits.

The St. Paul District received approval from the Mississippi Valley Division to attempt to raise the pool to the winter target level — 934.0 plus or minus 0.2 feet — beginning Aug. 13, which is a few weeks earlier than normal. However, water coming into the lake and evaporation is currently equal to or greater than the amount of water the Corps is releasing, and the pool level is steady or falling.

The Corps will store any runoff that the lake receives until the winter target level is reached.



  • New era begins on Marsh Lake A new control structure allowed for the drawdown of the lake over the past year-and-a-half. The gates were closed June 21, but low water conditions will likely persist into the upcoming waterfowl season. The emergent vegetation made possible by the drawdown should attract migrating waterfowl like days of old.

Current and historical lake levels and releases can be accessed at www.mvp-wc.usace.army.mil or water.usace.army.mil . Forecasted lake levels and releases are updated weekly at www.mvp-wc.usace.army.mil . All Corps reservoirs are operated in accordance with detailed water control manuals to ensure the system performs as designed.

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