Reclamation Increases Flows from Fontenelle Dam to Accommodate Accelerated Spring Runoff

Media Contact: Doug Hendrix , (801) 524-3837
Malcolm Wilson, (801) 524-3709

For Release: June 15, 2009

In order to bring the reservoir elevation down and provide space to capture potential high runoff, Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region reports that releases from Fontenelle Dam will be increased from a flow rate of 7,000 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs) to 8,000 cfs beginning today, June 15, 2009 at 11:00a.m., MST. Inflows to the reservoir are currently around 8,000 cfs and are forecasted to increase slightly or hold steady over the next several days. Reclamation will hold releases at a rate of 8,000 cfs for several days until the reservoir elevation decreases to 6,501 feet or below.

"Though the releases from this facility are higher than we've seen since the 1999 Spring runoff season, releases will still be below the safe channel capacity for the City of Green River of 11,500 cubic-feet-per-second," said Malcolm Wilson, Chief of the Water Resources Group with Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region. "Once we've brought the elevation of Fontenelle reservoir down to a lower level, releases will be decreased concurrent with decreasing inflows to the reservoir from upstream tributaries."

Public recreating in or near the Green River should exercise extreme caution as these swift, high flows can create hazardous conditions. Life jackets are recommended for anyone recreating in or near the river.

Reclamation is raising releases from Fontenelle Dam to provide additional storage space in the reservoir in the event that recent precipitation causes snowpack at the high elevation levels to runoff more quickly than anticipated. Creation of the additional space can help reduce a high inflow from passing through the reservoir and on to downstream areas. The elevation of the reservoir at Fontenelle Dam has risen to 6504 feet  approximately 2 feet below full pool level.

Reclamation is coordinating all of its planned actions with the Sweetwater County Emergency Management Agency as a means to keep the City of Green River and residents in the surrounding areas informed of the higher water levels than have recently been experienced.

Snotel station data currently indicates that about 7% of the total snowpack remains at high elevation levels above Fontenelle. However, there are very few monitoring sites located at this elevation level so runoff could be higher than projected.

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Fontenelle Dam