The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

December 10, 2013

Pending freeze boosts river level

OTTUMWA — If you’ve driven over the Market Street Bridge or the Jefferson Street Viaduct in the past couple days, you’ve probably noticed that the river has more water in it.

A lot more.

After months of staying mostly below one foot, the river has jumped up in just a couple days. The area has seen snow in that time but not enough to change the level on its own. And, let’s face it, it has been far too cold for most of it to melt anyway.

From Sept. 1 through Dec. 6, the river spent only 21 days with more than a foot of water flowing through Ottumwa. You have to go back to Aug. 23 to find the last time the river was over 1.5 feet here.

If anyone should know why things changed, it’s Perry Thostenson, the assistant operations manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Red Rock. The lake controls water flow for a large area downstream, including Ottumwa.

Thostenson said a combination of factors helped change conditions. The first is the season. Fall means large-scale bird migrations, and many of those birds use large bodies of water as rest stops on their trips.

“Our regulation plan allows for a fall raise in the conservation pool to benefit and coincide with the fall migration of waterfowl and other birds,” he said.

Winter’s arrival changes the situation, though.

“With the impending ice-over of the lake we opted to increase outflow to draw the pool down to ‘normal’ conservation pool before substantial ice is formed,” said Thostenson.

This summer’s drought played a role in dropping river levels even before any of this took place. It was the second consecutive summer of drought conditions in Iowa, and at Ottumwa, some months saw even less rain than in 2012.

More than half the state, including all of southeast Iowa, remains in drought. But the window for recharging the soil is closing. The winter freeze means soil moisture levels are unlikely to change much until next spring.

---

NOTE: This version of the story has been corrected to eliminate inaccurate information.

 

1
Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • New boilers cost district $380,000 The summer boiler replacement projects will be getting underway after the Centerville School Board approved a $380,801 bid from Capital City Boiler and Machine Works out of Des Moines during their April 14 meeting. Six bids were received and the boar

    April 18, 2014

  • Troy Rider.jpg Judge grants motion on witness comments

    Judge John Lloyd has granted a motion, filed by Troy Neil Rider's defense, to limit extrajudicial comment by witnesses regarding the sexual abuse case against Rider. 

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DOT photo Public learns latest about Northwest Bypass at DOT meeting

    OSKALOOSA -- Many area residents learned the latest about the U.S. 63 Northwest Bypass of Oskaloosa at a public information meeting held Wednesday evening at Oskaloosa Middle School. The two-hour meeting featured tables with maps of the three propose

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 18, 2014

  • 0418 OTT Five Things logo -T -L -M Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — It's a weekend of Easter celebrations, historic events and educational opportunities in southeast Iowa. Many people are gathered together this weekend, and the surrounding communities have scheduled events perfect for the whole family. 1. S

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Saving Center color photo -T -L -M Hedrick building has friends HEDRICK — The community wants a civic center, and they've been willing to work for it. "I'd say we have 15 to 25 volunteers each time," Tommy Smith of Hedrick said. "These are all good people." Smith was volunteering his services at the Easter Brunch

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Southern Iowa farmers preparing for planting OTTUMWA — Even though the winter seemed to linger like Iowa was going through an ice age and cold and wet weather has highlighted the early spring, farmers are starting to get out to their fields to put down fertilizer and get fields ready for planti

    April 16, 2014

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Van Buren supervisors deny hog confinement permit application KEOSAUQUA — A proposed swine building in Chequest Township didn’t receive a seal of approval from Van Buren County Board of Supervisors. Supervisors voted Monday to recommend to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to deny the permit. Supervisor

    April 16, 2014

  • raceway concept drawing.jpg Raceway Rebate passes the House

    Rep. Greg Heartsill reports that the bill to provide up to $2 million in sales tax rebates to the Knoxville Raceway has passed out of the Iowa House of Representatives, 78-15. 

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National