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Great Plains Region
Billings, Mont.
Media Contact:
Lynn Petersen
(406) 247-7300
Mark Andersen
(406) 247-7610

Released On: August 24, 2006

Reclamation Announces Montana Reservoir Information
Most water users who depend on storage from Reclamation-managed reservoirs in eastern Montana have received normal water supplies this year, according to Dan Jewell, Area Manager for Reclamation's Montana Area Office. But he said a lack of summer precipitation, combined with heavy irrigation demand, has severely impacted storage at most reservoirs. Storage in Reclamation-managed reservoirs currently ranges from 14 percent of average in Gibson Reservoir to 116 percent of average in Sherburne Reservoir.

Jewell said, "Inflows are well below normal for this time of year, but with the exception of Gibson Reservoir, most boat ramps should be usable at Reclamation reservoirs during the Labor Day weekend. As always, we strongly encourage recreationists to check for the most up-to-date information at Reclamation's website http://www.usbr.gov/gp/boat/".

Current conditions at Reclamation facilities include:

Clark Canyon Reservoir  Inflows to the reservoir are about 70 percent of normal for this time of year and the reservoir level is approximately 10 feet higher than at this time last year. The boat ramp at Beaverhead Camp is currently open and is expected to remain open through Labor Day weekend.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir  Inflows to Canyon Ferry are about 75 percent of normal for this time of year and the reservoir level is approximately one foot lower than at this time last year. Releases from Canyon Ferry are currently being maintained to provide flows of about 4,100 cubic feet per second (cfs) in the Missouri River below Holter Dam. Recreationists should be able to safely launch boats at most ramp locations around Canyon Ferry during the Labor Day weekend.

Gibson Reservoir  Gibson Reservoir reached the full pool level in late May, but due to the lack of precipitation and heavy irrigation demands by the Sun River Project, available storage in Gibson Reservoir was fully utilized by about August 12. The reservoir elevation is currently below the end of the boat ramp.

Lake Elwell (Tiber Reservoir)  Inflows into Lake Elwell remain well below average. Current storage is 93 percent of normal and about 2 feet higher than at this time last year. Releases to the Marias River are being maintained at 535 cfs. Recreationists should be able to safely launch boats at most locations around Lake Elwell during the Labor Day weekend.

Milk River Project (Fresno & Nelson)  Due to the lack of summer precipitation, the Milk River Project placed a heavy irrigation demand on storage in Fresno Reservoir. Releases from Fresno Dam to the Milk River are currently being maintained at about 850 cfs. Storage in Fresno Reservoir is currently 86 percent of average and about six feet lower than this time last year. Storage in Nelson Reservoir is about 80 percent of average. While recreationists should be able to safely launch boats at most locations around Fresno and Nelson reservoirs during the Labor Day weekend, boaters are encouraged to log onto Reclamation's website for up-to-date information on specific boat ramp conditions.

Bighorn Lake (Yellowtail Dam)  Inflows to Bighorn Lake are currently about 50 percent of average. Releases from Bighorn Lake to the Bighorn River have been reduced to 1,500 cfs, which is the minimum fishery flow. Bighorn Lake storage is currently 73 percent of average and about 34.5 feet lower than at this time last year. The water level of Bighorn Lake during the Labor Day weekend should be adequate to safely launch boats at Ok-A-Beh and Barry's Landing only. Boaters are encouraged to log onto Reclamation's website to check for up-to-date information prior to planning their weekend.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.