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Published September 26, 2012, 09:46 PM

Upstream dams at lowest levels in 20 years

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Water levels on the Red River in Fargo are at their lowest levels in eight years. But at the dams upstream we are seeing some of the lowest levels in over 20 years.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Water levels on the Red River in Fargo are at their lowest levels in eight years. But at the dams upstream we are seeing some of the lowest levels in over 20 years.

The amount of water flowing out of Orwell dam near Fergus Falls is considerably less than last year at this time.

Last September the water was up above this pipe in the spillway when the discharge was at 1200 cubic feet/second.

Today this discharge is only 110 cfs.

Bob Schimming, Army Corp Orwell Dam: “We have had low flows like this in the past back in 91 and probably a staggered year in between there for a few days.”

Most of the water you see on the Red River in Fargo is coming out of the Orwell Dam here in Otter Tail County that's because down on the Bois Sioux they cut the White Rock Dam off in June.

The birds are gathering to fly south in the water behind White Rock Dam. It is pretty common to have no flow coming out heading into fall but this year’s cut off was early.

Tom Matt, Army Corp White Rock Dam: “We're a lot lower. We haven't had any run off at all. So everything that comes in rain ends up soaking in.”

The lake level here and in Lake Traverse is kept fairly steady for recreation and wild life.

Matt: “If it's a dry winter, we may not draw down at all just because there won't be any runoff.”

And that's something that has not happened since the dry years of the late 80's.

The flows coming into the Red River from the Wild Rice and Rabbit Rivers have also been very low.

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