Even though there was not much rainfall in Marion County this year, the US Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Red Rock will maintain an outflow of 300 cubic feet per second at the dam. This would continue, even if the conservation pool level was dropping.
Assistant Operations Manager John Holt said that if the pool dropped by eight feet, the Corps could come back. That significant of a reduction is not likely.
“It would take a year to get that low,” Holt said. If it came to that, there would already be impacts to the lake's recreational activities. The purpose of the dam is to maintain water flowing into the Des Moines River. This is one of the lake's authorized purposes.
Despite issues with navigation down the Mississippi River, the Corps has not been authorized to operate the dam in such a way that would benefit the Mississippi.
“We could impact navigation on the Mississippi River, but we are not authorized to do that,” Holt said. Red Rock is 143 miles away from the Mississippi. Getting to the river would require a lot of time and it would be difficult to make all purposes match.
To help the Mississippi, actions at Red Rock would have to be taken that would go against one of its primary purposes, which is flood control.