Army Corps establishing snowpack monitoring network
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District has awarded multiple contracts with state and federal agencies and private firms to establish the Upper Missouri Basin Monitoring Network for soil moisture and plains snowpack.
The Corps awarded contracts with the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana to retrofit existing MESONET soil moisture monitoring sites and to install new sites. The Network, which is expected to take 5-7 years to complete, will consist of approximately 540 sites.
"The soil moisture and the plains snow information will be integrated into our upper basin runoff models, which is part of our management of the Mainstem Reservoir System", said John Remus, chief of the Corps' Missouri River Basin Water Management Division.
Additional contracts awarded are with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), which will obtain soil characteristics at each site and the Center for Integrated Research on the Environment of the University of Montana, which will coordinate environmental, cultural resources, and real estate activities; Southeastern Archaeological Research will complete the site surveys.
Both the Corps and the National Weather Service will use Network data to enhance existing soil moisture and plains snow products as well as provide river and reservoir forecasters with previously-unavailable modeling information.