Pactola flow into Rapid Creek is increased

Several Rapid City citizens express concern that the drop in levels may have an impact on the water quality, as well as fish life.
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 9:07 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Thursday, the Bureau of Reclamation directed the City of Rapid City to increased the release flows at Pactola Reservoir to 30 cubic feet per second, and to shut down the by-pass line.

Earlier this week, the flow into Rapid Creek was cut to about 10 CFS due to necessary repairs on a dam gate.

Original Story

Many people in the Rapid City community---noticed remarkably low water-levels in Rapid Creek over the weekend. Federal and city officials are now explaining what caused this low water-flow---but many outdoor enthusiasts are still concerned.

Several Rapid City Citizens utilized Monday night’s public comment period at the city council meeting to express concern that the drop in levels may have an impact on the water quality, as well as fish life.

“I went and took pictures up there below the dam [Sunday] and I could see wrinkled up tout eggs in the rocks.” said David Hanna, President of Black Hills Flyfishers. “So, we’ve obviously at least lost a good portion of a year class.”

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, outflows from Pactola dam dropped below 44 cubic feet per second.

Rapid City Public Works Director Dale Tech said that this was due to a repair needed to a dam gate.

He adds that the repair, and its effect on the outflow could have been communicated better.

“When the bureau makes changes to the releases, we notify the public.,” Tech said. “We did that last Wednesday as public outreach primarily and to let people know things are happening. But I do believe this was a very sensitive issue and certainly communication from all parties should be improved.”

Tech says while the city itself can’t control the flow in Rapid Creek, the do have a contractual relationship with the Bureau of Reclamation, who does oversee the release of water out of Pactola.

He adds the issue should be fixed by next week.