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South Dakota Campgrounds Face Flooding

June 30, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

American Creek Campground now has been inundated by Missouri River flooding in South Dakota.

Residents of Chamberlain and Oacoma, S.D., filled more sandbags Wednesday (June 29) as the Missouri River continued to rise between the two cities, the Daily Republic reported.

Wednesday morning, Gary McQuistion gathered friends, relatives and neighbors to help raise the sandbag levee around his home in Chamberlain. The American Creek Campground, which is inundated, is just behind his residence. The water was approximately 10 feet from his house Wednesday afternoon.

“A quick thundershower just ran through; it just wet the ground,” he said Wednesday morning. “I don’t like to see clouds come through.”

The sandbags now stand approximately 40 inches tall around the west and south sides of his home.

Cedar Shore Resort on the Oacoma side of the river is still open, with plenty of events planned for the Fourth of July weekend, said Angelia Bosworth, assistant general manager. Although the campground has lost some sites to the flooding, the remaining sites are full.

All the tent sites are lost along with about 15 seasonal RV sites. Campground Manager Teri Meyer said it’s uncertain whether the tent sites will be recovered next year, as erosion has caused several issues.

The closures have resulted in several cancelations.

“There are three sisters who come here every year with their families, and they canceled because of the water,” Meyer said.

Usually, the family comes to jet ski and tube on the Missouri. Meyer not only lamented the resort’s loss of business, but the business Chamberlain and Oacoma has lost due to this and other large groups not staying at Cedar Shore.

The group would normally stay eight days, spend money on gas, groceries, laundry, rent equipment at the marina, eat at restaurants and go to movies.

“They really contributed to the economy,” Meyer said.

Bosworth said employees helped build a new boat ramp to allow people fishing access to the river; however, the marina is closed and jet skis and tubing are not currently allowed due to unsafe conditions and debris in the river, she said.

As the water rises at the reservoir above Fort Randall Dam, the water also continues to rise upstream at Chamberlain/Oacoma. McQuistion said he’s been told the level could rise to about 1,375 feet mean sea level.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the reservoir near Fort Randall was at an all-time high of 1,373.3 feet and the U.S. Geological Survey gauge on the Missouri at Chamberlain/Oacoma read 1,374.4 feet.

According to information provided on a teleconference with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday, the reservoir at Fort Randall Dam is expected to rise another three-tenths of a foot. Jody Farhat, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Office, said the level could begin to fall as early as Sunday.

The corps plans to continue releasing at 155,000 cubic feet per second at Fort Randall Dam for the next few days and then increase to 157,000 cfs, Farhat said. Big Bend Dam, upstream from Chamberlain/Oacoma, will continue to release at 155,000 cfs for the next several days and then lower to 150,000 cfs, Farhat said.

Farhat said Chamberlain/Oacoma residents can expect the river to rise about 4 inches by Sunday.

The city of Oacoma and volunteers recently sandbagged 11 homes on the south side of town.

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