Canyon Ferry Reservoir Expected to Begin Slowly Filling

Media Contact: Jack Connor, (406) 247-7300

For Release: May 07, 2014

BILLINGS, Mont. -- Winter operations have resulted in the reservoir level of the Bureau of Reclamation's Canyon Ferry Reservoir to be drawn down to levels considered less than average for this time of year.

On May 1, 2014 the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) measured the snow water content in the mountain snowpack in the Missouri River Basin upstream of Canyon Ferry Reservoir at 138 percent of median. This is comparable to the snow water content that existed in the mountains during the record water years of 1996, 1997 and 2011.

Since early March Reclamation plans were made to evacuate storage to elevation 3778-3780 by late April in preparation for the anticipated spring snowmelt. On May 4, storage in Canyon Ferry Reservoir reached a low elevation of about 3778.5. Recent warmer temperatures are now beginning to melt the low elevation mountain snow, resulting in higher inflows into Canyon Ferry. Reclamation is currently releasing about 8,400 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs) out of Canyon Ferry while inflows into the reservoir are averaging over 10,000 cfs and continuing to slowly increase. As a result, Canyon Ferry Reservoir is now slowly refilling.

Based on current conditions, Canyon Ferry Reservoir is expected to continue slowly filling to a level near elevation 3,782 feet by Memorial Day Weekend. This should allow launching of boats at the majority of the boat ramps around Canyon Ferry Reservoir. However, due to the lower reservoir levels, Reclamation encourages boaters to be cautious of actual boat launching conditions at all sites. Additional information on safe boat launching elevations is available at our website at

# # #

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