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Great Plains Region
Billings, Mont.
Media Contact:
Jack Conner
(406) 247-7300

Released On: May 22, 2014

Bureau of Reclamation Provides Update on Reservoir Conditions
BILLINGS, Mont. -- According to Brent Esplin, Area Manager for Reclamation's Montana Area Office, water levels at many Reclamation-managed reservoirs in eastern Montana are at or above average for this time of year while some are below average in preparation for the anticipated snow melt.

"Most boat ramps should be usable at all Reclamation reservoirs east of the Continental Divide during the Memorial Day weekend," Esplin said. "As always, we strongly encourage water-based recreationists to check for the most up-to-date water level conditions at Reclamation's website http://www.usbr.gov/gp/boat/ before heading to your favorite reservoir," Esplin said.

Current conditions at Reclamation facilities include:

Clark Canyon Reservoir - Inflows to the reservoir are well below average for this time of year. The reservoir is about 14.5 feet below the top of the joint-use pool and nearly 5 feet lower than at this time last year. All boat ramps around Clark Canyon Reservoir are currently usable.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir - Inflows to Canyon Ferry are above average for this time of year. The reservoir level is about 18 feet below the top of the joint-use pool and nearly 3 feet lower than at this time last year. Releases to the Missouri River are being maintained at about 8,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) in preparation for the anticipated near record high snowmelt runoff. Boat ramps located at Goose Bay, Yacht Basin Marina, and Silos (Broadwater Bay) are expected to be usable. Boaters are encouraged to be cautious of actual boat launching conditions at all sites.

Gibson Reservoir - Inflows to Gibson Reservoir are above average for this time of year. The reservoir is about 62 feet below the top of the conservation pool and about 47 feet lower than at this time last year. The boat ramp at Gibson Reservoir is currently usable.

Willow Creek Reservoir (Sun River) - Willow Creek Reservoir is above average for this time of year, only about 1.5 feet below full pool. Boaters should be able to safely launch at all locations around Willow Creek Reservoir.

Pishkun Reservoir (Sun River) - Pishkun Reservoir is full and above average for this time of year. Boaters should be able to safely launch at all locations around Pishkun Reservoir.

Lake Elwell (Tiber Reservoir) - Inflows to Tiber Reservoir are above average for this time of year. The reservoir level is about 8 feet below the top of the joint-use pool and approximately 2.5 feet lower than at this time last year. Releases to the Marias River are currently being maintained at about 1,100 cfs. All boat ramps around Tiber Reservoir are currently usable.

Fresno Reservoir - Inflows to Fresno Reservoir are below average for this time of year. The reservoir level is above average for this time of year at about 0.6 feet below the top of the active conservation pool and approximately 0.4 foot lower than at this time last year. Releases to the Milk River are currently about 500 cfs. All boat ramps at Fresno are currently usable.

Nelson Reservoir - Nelson Reservoir is nearly full and the reservoir level is above average for this time of year. Boaters should be able to launch at all locations around Nelson Reservoir.

Bighorn Lake (Yellowtail Dam) - Inflows to Bighorn Lake are well above average for this time of year. The reservoir level is about 37 feet below the top of the joint-use pool and nearly 23 feet lower than at this time last year. Releases to the Bighorn River are being maintained at 8,500 cfs in preparation for the anticipated near record high snowmelt runoff. Boaters will only be able to safely launch boats at Ok-A-Beh and Barry's Landing boat ramps.

For more information regarding recreation activities and boat launching at Bighorn Lake, recreationists are encouraged to contact the National Park Service at 406-666-3218.

Each year hundreds of lives are lost, thousands are injured, and millions of dollars of property damage occurs because of preventable recreational boating accidents on U.S. waterways. Too often pleasure outings turn tragic. You - as a boat operator, passenger, or concerned individual - can make a difference.

For more information on boating safety visit www.uscgboating.org. For more information on water levels and boat ramp information, visit Reclamation's Montana Area Office website at, www.usbr.gov/gp/mtao/.

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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.