Great Plains Region Newsroom Channel Reclamation Newsroom Channel Annual Drawdown of Alcova Reservoir
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation will be lowering the water level in Alcova Reservoir as the 2016 irrigation season draws to a close. The annual drawdown of the reservoir will begin on Saturday, Oct. 1. <P> During October, the reservoir water surface elevation will be lowered about 10 feet, at a rate of approximately four inches per day. The reservoir's normal winter operating range is between 5,487 and 5,489 feet. Water released in the drawdown of Alcova Reservoir will be restored downstream in Glendo Reservoir. <P> Boat owners and recreationists should be aware of the declining level of Alcova Reservoir and take proper precautions. <P> Reclamation Announces Annual Drawdown of Guernsey Reservoir
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation will be lowering the water level in Guernsey Reservoir as the 2016 irrigation season draws to a close. <P> Guernsey Reservoir levels are expected to remain accessible for boating recreation through September 18. Reclamation will begin drawing down Guernsey Reservoir on the evening of Sunday, September 18, and the boat ramps will quickly become unusable. Reclamation advises that watercraft be removed from the reservoir by the evening of Sunday, September 18. <P> Guernsey Reservoir releases are expected to gradually decrease beginning on September 14 with the end of major irrigation demands. On the afternoon of September 16, releases from Guernsey Reservoir will be set to approximately 2,000 cfs until the end of September when they will be discontinued for the winter. <P> Glendo Reservoir levels are expected to continue gradually declining and reach a water surface elevation near 4589.5 feet (approximately 140,000 acre-feet) around September 19. Glendo releases will be discontinued for the winter by September 25 and Glendo Reservoir levels will then stabilize and slowly increase after October 1. <P> Boaters, recreationists, and irrigators should take proper precautions regarding changing river flows between Glendo and Guernsey Reservoirs and the lowering of Guernsey Reservoir. <P> Reclamation Awards $8.9M Contract for Dike Modification at Altus Dam
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a contract for $8,906,175 to Meridian Contracting, Inc., for the dike modification work at Altus Dam. Altus Dikes are located approximately 20 miles north of Altus, Okla. in Kiowa and Greer Counties. <P> "We're pleased to award this contract to a small business," said Great Plains Regional Director, Mike Ryan. "This work creates jobs, and will help keep Altus Dikes functioning properly well into the future, continuing to provide safe and reliable flood control and irrigation water for Altus, and surrounding areas." <P> The work is required to address the results of a Corrective Action Study (CAS), completed in May 2015, which identified various alternatives to reduce static and hydrologic risks associated with the Altus dikes, ensure continued structural integrity under all reasonable expected operating conditions, reduce potential flood overtopping risks, and fully maintain authorized project benefits at current levels. <P> Principle features of the work include raising the crests of the existing dikes; providing zoned earthfill materials and geotextile to construct the dike raises; constructing new dike connection sections; providing gravel surfacing; clearing, grubbing, and excavating drainage trenches; removing water from excavations; providing and installing earthfill materials, geotextile and HDPE pipe for trench drains; and providing inspection wells. <P> The contract was awarded on August 8. Construction is estimated to begin in early January 2017, and take approximately 3 years to complete. <P> The Altus Project provides irrigation water to approximately 48,000 acres of privately owned land in southwestern Oklahoma, flood control on the North Fork of the Red River, an augmented municipal water supply for the city of Altus, fish and wildlife conservation benefits, and recreation facilities. Project features include Altus Dam, the Main, Altus, West, and Ozark Canals, a 221-mile lateral distribution system, and 26 miles of drains. <P> For more information please contact the Tyler Johnson at 406-247-7610 or <a href=""></a>. <P> Reclamation Announces Canyon Ferry Dam Road Closure
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Montana State Highway 284 across Canyon Ferry Dam will be closed to all traffic on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The temporary road closure is due to required maintenance work being conducted to the spillway. <P> Travelers are encouraged to seek alternate routes, north and south of the dam during the closure period. <P> For more information please contact the Canyon Ferry Field Office at 406-475-3310 or visit Reclamation's website at <a href=""></a>. <P> Lakeshore Drive across Guernsey Dam Temporarily Closed
MILLS, Wyo. -- Reclamation would like to notify the public that the road crossing Guernsey Dam will be closed for most of the non-irrigation season to accommodate rehabilitation of the Guernsey North Spillway Gate. The project is expected to start on October 1, 2016, and be completed no later than April 15, 2017. Road closure signs and gates will be installed prior to commencement of the work. <P> A contract for the gate rehabilitation project has been awarded to Lillard & Clark Construction Company of Denver, Colo. The work will involve cleaning, recoating, and replacing worn components of the gate. This project is important for the continued reliable operation of the spillway and the dependable delivery of water to the water users. <P> Guernsey State Park will remain open throughout the construction period, with the exception of the day use area below the dam. Recreation facilities on the south side of the reservoir will continue to be accessible via Lakeshore Drive. Because Lakeshore Drive will be closed at the dam, recreation facilities on the north side of the reservoir will be accessible by taking Highway 270 north from Guernsey to Hartville, then Highway 317 to Lakeshore Drive at the north entrance to the park. <P> Reclamation Celebrates 50 Years of Service from Yellowtail Dam and Power Plant
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation will hold a celebration on September 10 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the construction of Yellowtail Dam, Power Plant and Afterbay Dam. <P> The public is invited to attend the celebration that will be held at the Yellowtail Dam Visitor Center at Yellowtail Dam near Fort Smith, Mont. The celebration will begin at 1 p.m. with Reclamation's Great Plains Regional Director Mike Ryan serving as Master of Ceremonies with comments provided by Montana Area Manager Steve Davies, Congressional offices, and select partners. The access road to the Visitor Center will be open at noon and the Visitor Center will be open during the event. <P> The Yellowtail Unit consists of Yellowtail Dam, Power Plant, and Afterbay Dam, completed in 1966. The facilities have provided substantial benefits to the American public through power generation, flood control, recreation, and water storage. Yellowtail Dam is a concrete thin arch structure which is 525 feet high and 1,480 feet long. Four 12-foot-diameter penstocks through the dam supply water to four 62,500 kilowatt generators in the power plant at the base of the dam. The Afterbay Dam is a 72-foot high concrete gravity structure with two embankment wings providing controlled releases into the Bighorn River. <P> Yellowtail Dam impounds Bighorn Lake which is 72 miles long when the reservoir is full. The area around the lake has been designated Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area and offers outstanding scenery and excellent fishing, boating and other recreational opportunities. The recreation area is managed by the National Park Service. <P> Nelson Reservoir Boat Ramps Unusable Due to Low Water
BILLINGS, Mont. -- In support of the ongoing dam safety modifications work at Nelson Dikes, the reservoir has been drawn down to an approximate elevation of 2205 feet. The reservoir will be maintained at this elevation until at least October 15, 2016. At this elevation there are no usable established boat launching facilities. Due to the ongoing construction work, refilling the reservoir is unlikely to occur until spring 2017, and will depend upon available water supplies. Current reservoir levels can be found at <a href=""></a>. <P> Temporary road closures and/or detours around the dikes are not to be expected at this time. <P> An Environmental Assessment (EA) for the modification has been finalized and a Finding of No Significant Impact FONSI) has been signed. The public can access the final EA and FONSI on Reclamation's website at <a href=""></a>. <P> For additional information or questions, please call Jack Conner, 406-247-7300. <P> Reclamation Announces Public Meeting on Proposed Land Conveyance for Community Septic System Development at Canyon Ferry Reservoir
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has completed a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze the potential impacts of a proposed federal land disposal. A total of 83.5 acres would be conveyed to the East and West Shore Sewer Districts to allow the future development of contemporary community septic systems. <P> Reclamation currently owns and administers these lands proposed for conveyance. This proposed conveyance would allow the Districts control over certain lands needed for access, development, and operations of these proposed community septic systems. The 83.5 acres identified are the minimum required to develop and operate community septic systems. <P> Due to the close proximity of the various privately owned dwellings on East and West Shore Road to the reservoir, proper disposal of wastewater is important and water quality is a concern. <P> This Federal action is needed to accommodate the replacement of existing septic systems prior to contamination of Canyon Ferry lands and waters. Allowing the development of community septic systems was identified as a future outcome in the 2001 Canyon Ferry Lease Lots Sale Environmental Assessment. <P> The draft EA was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, and is available for review at <a href=""></a>. <P> Public comments will be accepted between August 22, 2016, and September 23, 2016, at the above web page, by e-mailing Justin Kucera at <a href=""></a> or in writing mailed to Bureau of Reclamation, Attn: Justin Kucera, P.O. Box 30137, Billings, MT 59107-0137. <P> The public meeting will be held Tuesday, August 23, 2016, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the following location: <P> <strong>Jorgenson's Inn and Suites</strong><br> Room 156 (downstairs)<br> 1714 11th Avenue<br> Helena, MT 59601 <P> For more information please contact Justin Kucera at <a href=""></a> or at (406) 247-7330. <P> Clean-Up Belle Fourche Reservoir Lands Event
BISMARCK, ND -- Reclamation is hosting a public lands clean-up event on Saturday, August 27, at Belle Fourche Reservoir near Belle Fourche, S.D. <P> Volunteer registration for the Clean-Up Belle Fourche Reservoir Lands Event is from 8:30-9:00 a.m. on the day of the event. Following a short safety briefing at 9:00 a.m., volunteers will set out in teams to tackle the Reservoir lands clean-up until noon when volunteers will then be treated to a free lunch. <P> Interested volunteers and sponsors should contact Colin Zilverberg, at 605.394.9757 extension 3008. <P> <strong>Directions to the event</strong>: Travel along U.S. Highway 212 to the Fruitdale Junction, turn north into the temporary parking area beside the gravel pile and follow the event signs to the meeting area. For your safety, please wear work or hiking boots, pants, gloves, a hat, and extra water if needed as water stations will be provided. <P> Construction of the Belle Fourche Reservoir began in 1905 and was completed in 1914. Visitation and usage of the area has grown from 3,000 people a year in the late 1950s to well over 167,000 people a year. This Take Pride in America Event is an excellent opportunity to join in and become a steward of your public lands. <P> For more information or to confirm your participation, please call Colin Zilverberg, at 605.394.9757 extension 3008. <P> Reclamation Extends Comment Period for Crow Tribe MR&I Water Supply Project Draft EA
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has announced it will extend the public comment period on the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Crow Tribe Municipal, Rural, and Industrial (MR&I) Water Supply Project to midnight on Friday, August 19, 2016. <P> The Crow Tribe, in cooperation with Reclamation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), prepared the Draft EA to evaluate the environmental consequences of constructing a water supply system in order to provide an adequate supply of quality potable water for municipal, rural, and industrial uses throughout the Crow Reservation. <P> The proposed project work is part of the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2010, which includes funding for the design, construction, and operation of a water supply system to collect, treat, and distribute water to users throughout the Reservation. <P> To view the Draft EA, please visit <a href=""></a>. Hard copies of the EA are available for viewing at the following locations: <P> Bureau of Reclamation<br> Great Plains Regional Office<br> Fifth floor, Room 510<br> 2021 4th Avenue North<br> Billings, MT 59101 <P> Bureau of Indian Affairs<br> Crow Agency Office<br> 69 Weaver Drive<br> Building #2<br> Crow Agency, MT 59022 <P> Crow Tribe Water Resources Department<br> 316 Araopush Road<br> Crow Agency, MT 59022 <P> Comments may be submitted through the project website, or via mail or email to: <P> Bureau of Reclamation<br> Attn: Crow MR&I Water Projects (GP-4000, CGomer)<br> 2021 4th Avenue North<br> Billings, MT 59101<br> Email: <a href=""></a> <P> Comments on the Draft EA will be accepted until midnight on Friday, August 19th, 2016. <P> Reclamation to Host Public Meeting for Ruedi Operations
LOVELAND, Colo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled the annual public meeting for Ruedi Reservoir Water Operations. <P> <strong>August 11: Basalt Town Hall, 101 Midland Avenue, Basalt, Colo., 7 to 8:30 p.m.</strong> <P> The meeting will provide an overview of Ruedi Reservoir's 2016 projected operations for late summer and early fall, which are key tourist seasons in Basalt. The meeting will include a public question and answer session. <P> For more information, please contact Tim Miller, Hydrologist, Eastern Colorado Area Office, by phone or e-mail: (970) 962-4394, or <a href=""></a>. <P> Public Meetings Scheduled for Updating Plans for Four Colorado-Big Thompson Reservoirs
The Bureau of Reclamation and Larimer County will jointly host public scoping meetings and comment period for the Federal Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Environment Assessment (EA) and associated county Reservoir Parks Master Plan from August 22-24. <P> Reclamation, in cooperation with Larimer County Department of Natural Resources, is seeking public input on the revision of the existing 2007 RMP/EA. Reclamation will prepare an updated EA pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and at the same time will be assisting with the preparation of the RMP. <P> The purpose of the RMP/EA is to balance natural resource protection with recreational opportunities, provide a diversity of recreational experiences, ensure financial stability, and account for future growth and demand. The integrated RMP/EA would replace the 2007 documents and would establish a 10-year plan detailing the management framework for the conservation, protection, and enhancement of the four regional reservoirs and surrounding lands. <P> "We are pleased to be part of this collaborative effort with Larimer County," said Reclamation's Eastern Colorado Area Manager, Signe Snortland. "This is an opportunity for the public to help shape future recreation in Larimer County." <P> Reclamation owns and operates nearly 7,000 acres of land and water across four reservoirs: Horsetooth Reservoir, Carter Lake, Flatiron Reservoir, and Pinewood Reservoir. Under license with Reclamation, Larimer County Department of Natural Resources manages recreational activities and maintains the recreation facilities at these four reservoirs. These four reservoirs are part of the Colorado-Big Thompson water project; water stored in these reservoirs is distributed by Northern Water for municipal, agricultural, and other uses. <P> The agencies will begin a 45-day public scoping period on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Public Scoping Meetings will be held from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm at the following locations where the public is encouraged to participate in identifying issues and new opportunities. <P> <ul> <li><strong>Monday, August 22, 2016</strong>, Horsetooth Area Info Center (located at South Bay), 4200 W. County Rd. 38 E, Fort Collins <ul> <li>Note: Entrance fees to the South Bay of Horsetooth Reservoir Park will be waived for this event.</li> </ul></li> <li><strong>Tuesday, August 23, 2016</strong>, Bison Info Center, 1800 S. County Rd. 31, Loveland</li> <li><strong>Wednesday, August 24, 2016</strong>, The Ranch Events Complex, McKee Community Building, 5280 Arena Cir., Loveland</li> </ul> <P> Reclamation will be conducting public scoping meetings to solicit feedback from the public. Public scoping assists in the NEPA process by focusing on relevant issues and environmental concerns, identifying potential alternatives, helping determine the scope and overall impact of the project, and providing opportunities for the public to provide input. <P> Written scoping comments will be accepted at the Public Scoping Meetings or can be provided online at <a href=""></a>, by e-mail or regular mail. E-mail should be addressed to the attention of Mr. Patrick McCusker at <a href=""></a>. Regular mail or Fax should be sent to the following address: <P> Patrick McCusker, Natural Resource Specialist<br> Bureau of Reclamation<br> 11056 W. County Road 18 E<br> Loveland, CO 80537<br> Fax: 970-663-3212 <P> Comments will be accepted throughout the 45-day public comment period until September 13, 2016. <P> To learn more about the federal RMP and NEPA process, please visit Reclamation's website at <a href=""></a>. The information provided at the Public Scoping Meetings will also be available at this site. <P> Further information about the concurrent planning efforts Reclamation is conducting with its partner, Larimer County, is available at <a href=""></a>. <P> <strong>Concurrent Planning Efforts</strong> <P> Larimer County is conducting a parallel public process for the development of a county-wide Reservoir Parks Master Plan and The Ranch Events Complex Master Plan. The agencies are coordinating a joint public scoping process to share feedback on the federal RMP and EA, the Reservoir Parks Master Plan, and The Ranch Events Complex Master Plan. The Reservoir Parks Master Plan will identify priority project areas and detailed strategies to accomplish the specified goals. The Ranch Events Complex is creating a fully-integrated Master Plan that outlines facility alternatives, expansion and financial options to support these expansions as needed. For more information about this simultaneous effort and to sign up for project updates, visit <a href=""></a>. <P> Media inquiries or general questions about Reclamation and the RMP/EA should be directed to Buck Feist at (406) 247-7607 or <a href=""></a> or Sterling Rech at (406) 246-7669 or <a href=""></a>. For the Ranch Events Complex, please email <a href=""></a>. <P> Reclamation Releases Draft Environmental Assessment for Tri-Districts Long-Term Excess Capacity Contracts
LOVELAND, Colo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Tri-Districts Long-Term Excess Capacity Contracts for public review and comment. <P> The Draft EA evaluates environmental impacts associated with Reclamation's proposed approval of 40-year excess capacity storage, exchange, and conveyance contracts between Reclamation and East Larimer County Water District, Fort Collins-Loveland Water District, North Weld County Water District (collectively referred to as Tri-Districts). <P> "Excess capacity contracts are very important," said Eastern-Colorado Area Manager, Signe Snortland. "These provide a needed benefit of water management flexibility, so Districts are better equipped to address drought, changes in municipal demand, and temporary changes in the watershed affecting water quality." <P> Tri-Districts have annually requested annual excess capacity contracts to mitigate poor water quality conditions in the Cache La Poudre River due to increased particulate matter due to the High Park and Hewlett wildfires in 2012. The long-term contracts would allow Tri-Districts to utilize excess capacity in Horsetooth Reservoir for storage, exchange and conveyance of the Tri-Districts' water supplies for delivery to the Soldier Canyon Water Treatment Plant. Each district would execute a separate contract with combined total exchange and storage contract volumes not to exceed 3,000 acre-feet (af). <P> The Draft EA is electronically available at <a href=""></a>. <P> Comments on the Draft EA can be sent to: <a href=""></a>; Terence Stroh, Bureau of Reclamation, 11056 West County Road 18E, Loveland, CO 80537; or faxed to 970-663-3212. For additional information or to receive a printed copy of the Draft EA, please contact Terence Stroh at 970-962-4369 or <a href=""></a>. Reclamation requests comments on the Draft EA on or before August 5, 2016. <P> Nelson Dikes Safety of Dams Modifications Update
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Contractor selected to complete the Nelson Dikes Safety of Dams Modifications, Johnson-Wilson Constructors, Inc., has mobilized to the Nelson Dikes construction area. Site preparatory work and the installation of dewatering wells has begun. <P> Reservoir drawdown operations began in late June and the reservoir is expected to be near an elevation of 2212.0 by the end of July. The reservoir will continue to be drawn down until the target elevation of 2205.0 feet is reached. This low reservoir restriction will remain in place until at least October 15, 2016. Refilling the reservoir is expected to occur in the spring of 2017, and will depend upon available water supplies. <P> Temporary road closures around the dikes are not anticipated at this time. The North Nelson boat ramp will become unusable below reservoir elevation 2216.0 ft. All other boat ramps will remain open at Nelson Reservoir. <P> An Environmental Assessment (EA) for the modification has been finalized and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) has been signed. The public can access the final EA and FONSI on Reclamation's website at <a href=""></a>. <P> For additional information or questions, please call 406-247-7300. <P> Fluctuation of Wind River Flow Downstream of Boysen Dam
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation, in response to a request from the Hanover Irrigation District, has scheduled a flushing flow below Boysen Dam, according to Deputy Area Manager Lyle Myler. <P> "The purpose of the flushing flow below Boysen is to attempt to flush moss down river and mitigate the amount of moss the district has at their diversion works." <P> Overnight from July 14 to the morning of July 15, flows in the river below Boysen Dam will fluctuate from 1,500 cfs to approximately 3,200 cfs according to the following schedule: <P> <table border="0" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" width="400"> <tr> <td>HOURS</td> <td>BOYSEN OUTFLOWS (cfs)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>8:00 p.m.</td> <td>1,500</td> </tr> <tr> <td>9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.</td> <td>3,200</td> </tr> <tr> <td>7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.</td> <td>2,700</td> </tr> <tr> <td>8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.</td> <td>2,200</td> </tr> <tr> <td>9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.</td> <td>1,700</td> </tr> <tr> <td>10:00 a.m.</td> <td>1,500</td> </tr> </table> <P> After completing the flushing flow for the morning of July 15, the flows below Boysen Dam will return to 1,500 cfs. <P> The public is urged to use caution during this period of rapid fluctuation of flows below Boysen Dam. <P>