Reclamation Sets Fall-Winter Releases from Yellowtail Dam

Media Contact: Paula Holwegner, (406) 247-7300
Tyler Johnson, (406) 247-7609

For Release: October 12, 2010

BILLINGS, MONT. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has set fall-winter releases from Yellowtail Dam to the Bighorn River at 2,370 cubic feet per second (cfs), and will drop to that rate on Wed., Oct. 13. Flows in the Bighorn River have been maintained at 2,500 cubic feet per second or higher since May 4 of this year.

"We have been working hard with stakeholders through the Bighorn River System Issues Group during the past couple of years to improve our ability to meet competing demands on Yellowtail Dam and Reservoir," said Dan Jewell, Area Manager for Reclamation's Montana Area Office. "The Issues Group was instrumental in helping develop the revised operating criteria that we have been utilizing for the past year to help guide our operations. I think most of our stakeholders would agree that although it remains a work-in-progress, it is an improvement over what we've used historically. Our objective now is to reach a reservoir elevation of 3618 feet by the end of March 2011. According to the data, a fall/winter release of 2,370 cfs gets us there." Jewell added, "How close we actually come to that elevation now depends on the weather and the accuracy of our inflow forecast."

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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 and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Montana Area Office Home Page