The effects of Missouri River mainstem reservoir system operations on 2011 flooding using a Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System model

Professional Paper 1798-K
This report is Chapter K in 2011 Floods of Central United States. For more information, see: Professional Paper 1798.
By: , and 



In 2011 the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System (Reservoir System) experienced the largest volume of flood waters since the initiation of record-keeping in the nineteenth century. The high levels of runoff from both snowpack and rainfall stressed the Reservoir System’s capacity to control flood waters and caused massive damage and disruption along the river. The flooding and resulting damage along the Missouri River brought increased public attention to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) operation of the Reservoir System.

To help understand the effects of Reservoir System operation on the 2011 Missouri River flood flows, the U.S. Geological Survey Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System was used to construct a model of the Missouri River Basin to simulate flows at streamgages and dam locations with the effects of Reservoir System operation (regulation) on flow removed. Statistical tests indicate that the Missouri River Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System model is a good fit for high-flow monthly and annual stream flow estimation. A comparison of simulated unregulated flows and measured regulated flows show that regulation greatly reduced spring peak flow events, consolidated two summer peak flow events to one with a markedly decreased magnitude, and maintained higher than normal base flow beyond the end of water year 2011. Further comparison of results indicate that without regulation, flows greater than those measured would have occurred and been sustained for much longer, frequently in excess of 30 days, and flooding associated with high-flow events would have been more severe.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title The effects of Missouri River mainstem reservoir system operations on 2011 flooding using a Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System model
Series title Professional Paper
Series number 1798
Chapter K
DOI 10.3133/pp1798K
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Office of Surface Water
Description v, 33 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title 2011 Floods of the Central United States
Country United States
State Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska,North Dakota, South Dakota. Wyoming
Other Geospatial Missouri River Basin
Datum North American Datum of 1983
Projection Albers Equal-Area Conic projection
Scale 3000000
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details