Great Plains Region Newsroom Channel Reclamation Newsroom Channel Fluctuation of North Platte River Flow Downstream of Gray Reef Dam
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation, in response to a request from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, has scheduled a series of fluctuating flows in the North Platte River downstream of Gray Reef Dam, according to Deputy Area Manager Lyle Myler. <P> "The purpose of the fluctuations is to improve trout reproduction in the river," Myler said. This spring, the Wyoming Game & Fish has requested flows for ten consecutive days. The Wyoming Game & Fish will collect data before, during, and after the flushing flow in order to evaluate its effectiveness. <P> On March 9, flows in the river below Gray Reef Dam will fluctuate from 500 cfs to 4000 cfs according to the following schedule: <P> <table width="550" border="0" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1"> <tr> <td>HOURS</td> <td>GRAY REEF OUTFLOWS (cfs)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>00:01 to 01:00 a.m.</td> <td>500</td> </tr> <tr> <td>01:00 to 03:00 a.m.</td> <td>2000</td> </tr> <tr> <td>03:00 to 07:00 a.m.</td> <td>4000</td> </tr> <tr> <td>07:00 to 08:00 a.m.</td> <td>3000</td> </tr> <tr> <td>08:00 to 09:00 a.m.</td> <td>2000</td> </tr> <tr> <td>09:00 to 10:00 a.m.</td> <td>1000</td> </tr> <tr> <td>10:00 to midnight</td> <td>500</td> </tr> </table> <P> This schedule will be repeated daily on March 10 through March 18. After completing the flushing flow on March 18, the flows below Gray Reef Dam will return to 500 cfs. The schedule may be modified depending on river ice conditions. <P> The flushing flows are expected to clean the spawning gravels of fine sediment which has accumulated over the winter. The fluctuations in the river flow will be achieved without loss of power generation and the water released from Alcova Reservoir will be restored downstream in Glendo Reservoir. <P> The public is urged to use caution during this period of rapid fluctuation of flows below Gray Reef Dam. <P> Reclamation Issues Snowmelt Runoff Forecast for Bighorn River Basin
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Reclamation's February forecast of the April through July runoff predicted for the Bighorn Basin is as follows: <P> <ul> <li>Buffalo Bill Reservoir - Shoshone River April through July inflow to Buffalo Bill Reservoir is forecast at 700,000 acre-feet (af), which is 103 percent of the 30 year average of 667,800 af.</li> <li>Wind River - April through July snowmelt runoff into the Wind River above Bull Lake Creek is expected to be 400,000 af, which is 101 percent of the 30 year average of 396,800 af.</li> <li>Bull Lake Reservoir - April through July snowmelt runoff into Bull Lake Reservoir from Bull Lake Creek is expected to be 125,000 af, which is 91 percent of the 30 year average of 137,300 af.</li> <li>Boysen Reservoir - Wind River April through July inflow to Boysen Reservoir is forecast at 450,000 af, which is 84 percent of the 30 year average of 533,800 af.</li> <li>Bighorn Lake - Bighorn River April through July inflow to Bighorn Lake is forecast at 1,015,800 af, which is 94 percent of the 30 year average of 1,081,600 af.</li> </ul> <P> An acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover 1 acre (43,560 square feet) 1 foot deep (325,851 gallons or 1,233.5 cubic meters). <P> For additional information on Buffalo Bill, Boysen and Bull Lake reservoirs, contact Wyoming Area Manager Carlie Ronca at 307-261-5671. For additional information on Bighorn Lake/Yellowtail Reservoir, contact Montana Area Manager Brent Esplin at 406-247-7298. <P> Reclamation Issues Snowmelt Forecast for North Platte
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation in Mills, Wyo., has prepared snowmelt runoff forecasts for the North Platte River Basin, according to Carlie Ronca, Wyoming Area Manager. The Feb. 1 forecast indicates the spring snowmelt runoff for the North Platte Basin will be below average. <P> Total April through July runoff in the North Platte Basin above Glendo Dam is expected to be 565,000 acre feet (AF) or 65% of the 30 year average of 870,000 AF. Approximately 450,000 AF (65% of average) of the runoff is expected to enter Seminoe Reservoir with an additional 35,000 AF (67% of average) being provided to Pathfinder Reservoir from the Sweetwater River, and the balance of 80,000 AF (65% of average) coming from the basin between Pathfinder Reservoir and Glendo Reservoir. <P> The total storage for the North Platte Reservoir System as of January 31, 2015 is 1,808,400 af, which is 116% of the 30-year average of 1,554,200 af. The total conservation storage capacity of the North Platte Reservoir System is approximately 2,815,800 af. The water in storage for delivery to North Platte Project contractors as of January 31st is 744,200 AF or 139% of average. <P> Reclamation will update the inflow forecasts again in March, April, and May. <P> Reclamation Warns of Changing Ice Conditions
BISMARCK, N.D. -- The Bureau of Reclamation is advising the public to take precautions and be aware of rapidly changing ice conditions at all reservoirs in North Dakota and South Dakota. <P> Winter snowpack melting due to warmer than normal temperatures has increased water inflows enough to cause rapid shifts in ice conditions. <P> "Changing water elevations and increased runoff create dangerous areas of thin ice creating unsafe conditions for individuals recreating on the rivers and lakes," said Dakotas Area Office Manager David Rosenkrance. "These fluctuating water elevations change ice conditions without prior warning." <P> For more information, please contact Patience Hurley at 701.221.1204. <P> Reclamation Signs Record of Decision for Windy Gap Firming Project in North Central Colorado
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Today, the Bureau of Reclamation's Great Plains Regional Director Michael J. Ryan signed the Record of Decision, contract and associated documents, for the Windy Gap Firming Project, located southwest of Loveland, Colo. <P> "The Windy Gap Firming Project is an exceptional example of the federal government working with our partners to get big things done," said Ryan. "This project represents an immense effort from a diverse group of stakeholders who pulled together and created a workable project that provides benefits to the people of Colorado and the nation." <P> The signing of the ROD culminates a years-long effort by multiple water providers to increase the reliability of, or "firm," the Windy Gap Project water supply, increasing reliable annual yield from zero to approximately 26,000 acre-feet. <P> "This is an important milestone for the Windy Gap Participants who have worked tirelessly over many years to make today a reality," said Eric Wilkinson, General Manager for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. "Today the development and construction of the Windy Gap Firming Project is one very significant step closer to reality. Thanks go out to all those who negotiated in good faith over the last several years to develop a number of agreements that form the foundation for the documents being signed today." <P> The project potentially entails construction of a 90,000 acre-foot water storage reservoir, Chimney Hollow, south of Flatiron Reservoir on the East Slope, to provide more reliable water deliveries to Colorado's Front Range communities and industry. The construction of Chimney Hollow Reservoir will also provide additional recreational opportunities that would be developed and managed by Larimer County. <P> "The process outcome is what all future water projects should be based on," the Grand County Commissioners said in a statement. "We believe that consultation with Grand County during the 2014 contract negotiations is an indication of Reclamation's commitment to open decision-making on matters involving operations of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project." <P> Reclamation, along with Northern Water Conservancy District and Northern Water's Municipal Subdistrict, have negotiated a contract allowing the Subdistrict to use excess, or unused, capacity in Reclamation's Colorado-Big Thompson Project for Windy Gap Project water. New connections between Chimney Hollow Reservoir and C-BT Project facilities would allow water delivery to participants using existing C-BT infrastructure. Colorado-Big Thompson Project water would also be "prepositioned" in the Subdistrict's Chimney Hollow Reservoir to help improve the reliability of Windy Gap Project water deliveries. Total allowable C-BT Project storage or yield would not change. The estimated total construction cost for Chimney Hollow Reservoir and associated facilities is $223 million (in 2005 dollars) for the dam, reservoir, appurtenances and conveyance facilities. It is estimated that Chimney Hollow could be operational in five to seven years. <P> To view the Record of Decision, Final Environmental Impact Statement and other associated documents, please visit: <a href=""></a>. <P> Reclamation Awards $911,637 Contract for Canyon Ferry Elevator Replacement Work
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $911,637 contract to Skyward Construction, Inc., of Ridgefield, Wash., for elevator replacement and modernization work at Canyon Ferry Dam, approximately 17 miles East of Helena, Mont. <P> The work includes removal and replacement of existing elevator equipment, furnishing additional hardware to improve selected car and counterweight guide rail support brackets and associated spreader beams and anchors that are severely corroded and no longer reliability. There will be additional repairs in the hoistway. Work will also include modifications to the machine room by cutting and removing concrete and furnishing and installing an equipment roof hatch. <P> The contract was awarded on December 10, 2014. Work is scheduled to be completed in 2015. <P> The Canyon Ferry Unit is a multi-purpose project, which provides low cost power generation and makes an important contribution to the flood control, irrigation, and power supply in the upper Missouri Basin. <P> Camping and Vehicle Access Restricted at Belle Fourche Reservoir
RAPID CITY, S.D. -- Public safety, law enforcement and resource damage concerns have prompted Reclamation to restrict vehicle access to Belle Fourche Reservoir's Tequila Beach. Tequila Beach is located on Reclamation-managed lands in the Gadens Point area of Belle Fourche Reservoir. <P> "This is a popular area with the public, and use continues to increase at the reservoir. The 'Tequila Beach' area experiences high use during the summer months. Swimming, fishing, camping, picnicking and other day use activities are all popular," said Joe Hall, Division Manager of Environment and Resources for Reclamation's Dakotas Area Office. "Unfortunately, vehicle access to this area causes congestion, law enforcement and public safety concerns," said Hall. <P> Effective immediately, RV camping and motorized vehicles are not allowed in the Tequila Beach Area. Pedestrian-only access and tent camping will be allowed. Reclamation is developing and will designate a day-use-only graveled vehicle parking area to be located in close proximity to Tequila Beach. <P> Reclamation and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, continue to look for opportunities to provide improvements to the Belle Fourche Reservoir area for the public to enjoy. Current and anticipated improvements include the new Tequila Beach parking area, a new gravel/all-weather road at Middle Point, and a new beach and volleyball court at Rocky Point State Recreation Area. <P> Questions and/or concerns should be directed to Jay Leasure at 605-394-9757 ext. 3011. <P> Reclamation Announces Temporary Road Closure
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation is temporarily closing a section of road west of Miracle Mile bridge over the North Platte River below Kortes Dam, to just north of the North Red Hills entrance to Seminoe State Park, according to Carlie Ronca, Wyoming Area Manager. <P> "This temporary closure is necessary to facilitate the replacement of culverts crossing under the road," said Ronca. "The culvert replacement is part of ongoing work by Reclamation to repair road damage caused by a heavy rainstorm in August." <P> The road is owned and maintained by Reclamation for employee use associated with operation and maintenance of Seminoe and Kortes dams and power plants. Although the road is not maintained for public traffic, the road is normally open to the public for travel. <P> Weather permitting, the road will be closed on the evening of Monday, November 17, and reopened by the evening of Friday, November 21. <P> Seminoe State Park remains open and accessible from the south via Carbon County Road 351 from Sinclair. The Miracle Mile recreation area is accessible via the Kortes Road from the north and the Hanna-Leo Road from the south. <P> Members of the public who desire to travel this section of road between Seminoe State Park and the Miracle Mile before or after the temporary road closure do so at their own risk and are encouraged to use caution due to the condition of the road and the ongoing road repair activities. <P> Goose Bay Boat Ramp to Close
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Goose Bay boat ramp will be closed starting Monday, October 27, 2014. The Bureau of Reclamation will close the boat ramp in preparation for construction on the modernization of Goose Bay Marina. The entire Marina area including the boat ramp, parking area, and camping areas, will be closed through the entire 2015 recreation season. Reclamation is planning for the Marina to be operational for the 2016 recreation season. <P> The dispersed camping area to the northwest of Goose Bay Marina will remain open during the Marina construction period. This area is a non-fee area with limited facilities. <P> The Canyon Ferry Unit of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program is a multiple-purpose project which makes an important contribution to the power supply, flood control, and irrigation in the upper Missouri Basin. Principal structures are Canyon Ferry Dam and Power Plant, located about 17 miles northeast of Helena, Montana. <P> For more information, visit <a href=""></a>. <P> Carlie Ronca Selected as Wyoming Area Manager
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Great Plains Regional Director Michael Ryan has announced the selection of Carlie Ronca as Area Manager for Reclamation’s Wyoming Area Office. <P> "Carlie brings a wealth of experience to our organization," said Ryan. "She is well-versed in critical issues ranging from water rights to operations and maintenance of Reclamation facilities. She is the right person to lead this vital area of the Great Plains Region." <P> Ronca is responsible for the management of the Wyoming Area Office's portion of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program, the Shoshone Project in the Bighorn River Basin, and the North Platte and Kendrick Projects in the North Platte River Basin. <P> The Area Office provides approximately 2.8 million acre-feet of water releases, 800 gigawatt-hours of hydroelectric power generation, and manages over one half million acres of land for beneficial uses each year. WYAO employs a supervisory control system for operation of the federal dams and power plants on the North Platte, Wind, Bighorn, and Shoshone Rivers in Wyoming. The Area also provides supervisory control for Colorado's Big Thompson Project and Montana’s Yellowtail and Canyon Ferry hydropower facilities. <P> Prior to the Area Manager position, Ronca was the Resources Division Chief for the Eastern Colorado Area Office in Loveland, Colorado. In that capacity, she managed Project water rights and operations, operations and maintenance of Pueblo dam, water contract administration, and natural resources compliance and management. Ronca joined Reclamation in 2006 as a Natural Resource Specialist and Project Manager. After serving some years in the state public sector, she began her federal career in 1999 in the natural resources fields for the National Park Service. <P> Ronca holds a Master of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Science in Biology and General Science. She is a graduate of the Reclamation Executive Leadership Program, and has been recognized by customers and stakeholders for her service-oriented approach and ability to produce collaborative and creative solutions to complex issues. <P> Reclamation Releases Draft EA for Rehabilitation and Improvement of Crow Irrigation Project
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) for the Rehabilitation and Improvement of Crow Irrigation Project, located on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. <P> The Draft EA will be open for public comment from Thursday, October 17 until Friday, November 21. The Crow Tribe, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bureau of Indian Affairs developed a programmatic approach for rehabilitation and improvement work. Under this approach, work would be accomplished in phases over a 15-20 year period based on more detailed engineering and environmental reviews at the field level. <P> The Proposed Action incorporates conservation measures for conserving physical, biological, social, and heritage resources to reduce impacts on the environment. The EA addresses resource conditions and values that would be conserved through the application of best management practices (BMPs), natural resource conservation measures, and opportunities for on-farm improvements. <P> Visit <a href=""></a> to access the draft EA for review and comment. For additional information, please contact Christina Lasater, <a href=""></a>, (406) 247-7753. <P> Reclamation, Northern Water Reach Tentative Agreement on Windy Gap Firming Project
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Bureau of Reclamation, Northern Water Conservancy District and Northern Water's Municipal Subdistrict have been negotiating a contract that would allow the Subdistrict to use excess, or unused, capacity in Reclamation's Colorado-Big Thompson Project for the Windy Gap Project and future Windy Gap Firming Project. <P> The 30-day public comment period will open October 8, and close November 7. The comment period provides the public the opportunity to comment on the Contract, Senate Document 80, and Section 14 (Reclamation Project Act of 1939) Determination Memos. <P> "This project will make more efficient use of existing water rights," said Reclamation's Great Plains Regional Director Mike Ryan. "When completed, Windy Gap Firming would provide water storage for 13 municipal providers." <P> The contract will allow for the introduction, storage, conveyance, exchange, substitution, and delivery of water for Municipal Subdistrict, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and allows the flexibility to move or preposition water from the Colorado-Big Thompson Project in Colorado. <P> Section 14 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to enter into contracts for the exchange or replacement of water, water rights, or electrical energy for the adjustment of water rights. Senate Document 80 contains guidelines for Project Facilities operations and Auxiliary Features. <P> "There has been a need for a storage reservoir for Windy Gap water for more than 25 years," said Ryan. "We are getting much closer to making that a reality, and making better use of America's infrastructure, while also creating needed jobs in the process." <P> For more information on the contract, Senate Document 80, and Section 14 Determination Memos, contact Lois Petersen at (406) 247-7752 or <a href=""></a>. <P> Jamestown Dam Downstream Area Reopens
BISMARCK, N.D. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has completed two projects that had the downstream area of Jamestown dam and access roads closed off for public safety. Those areas have been reopened for public use. <P> A replacement concrete drain was installed on the east downstream side of the dam, and a replacement sub surface drain was installed along the west wingwall of the spillway works on the west downstream side of the dam. <P> The Bureau of Reclamation is also planning to conduct maintenance in the Jamestown Dam outlet works over the next several weeks. Minor concrete repairs will be made within the outlet works. Work is scheduled to begin on October 14, and is expected to take up to two weeks. <P> "The concrete repairs are required to repair freeze-thaw damage at the normal winter ice level within the outlet works stilling basin," said Darrin Goetzfried, Deputy of Facility and Engineering at Reclamation's Dakotas Area Office. <P> Releases from Jamestown Dam will be shut off and the Ice House Dam gates will be opened to lower the James River water level to help facilitate the work. <P> Once repairs are complete, the Ice House Dam gates will be closed and releases will again be made from Jamestown Dam to maintain the reservoirs water level at the winter target elevation of 1429.8 or below. Jamestown Reservoir is currently at elevation 1429.35. <P> For additional information, please contact Darrin Goetzfried at 701-221-1272 or Patience Hurley at 701-221-1204. <P> Reclamation Releasing Water from Patterson Lake for Inspection and Maintenance of the Dam
BISMARCK, N.D. -- Reclamation is temporarily lowering the water level of Patterson Lake to allow for inspection and maintenance of the dam's Bascule Gate. <P> "The water release allows for this work which is part of Reclamation's routine inspection and maintenance associated with all Reclamation water storage facilities," said Darrin Goetzfried, Deputy of Facilities and Engineering. <P> For the duration of the work, which could take up to three weeks, Reclamation will keep the lake elevation just below 2416.5 feet, 3.5 to 4 feet lower than normal. There may be times when no water will be released from the dam during this period. <P> For more information, please contact Patience Hurley at 701.221.1204 or Jim Weigel at 701.221.1289. <P> Reclamation Announces Meetings on Crow MR&I Water Supply Project
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation's Great Plains Region, in cooperation with the Crow Tribe, today announced times and locations of public open houses for Crow Tribe Municipal, Rural, and Industrial Water Supply Project (MR&I Project). <P> "I'm pleased we are engaging with the public on this vital project," said Michael Ryan, Great Plains Regional Director. "This is an opportunity for folks to share their input and help the Crow Tribe and Reclamation make the best decisions possible." <P> The open houses are part of the scoping process for an environmental review of the construction of the MR&I project under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). <P> <table width="460" border="0" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1"> <tr> <td colspan="2" valign="top">Public open houses will be held at:<br><br></td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top">St. Xavier:</td> <td>Big Horn District Hall<br />Monday, September 22<br />6 to 8 p.m.</td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top">Crow Agency:</td> <td>Black Lodge/Center Lodge (Reno) Multi-Purpose Building<br />Tuesday, September 23<br />6 to 8 p.m.</td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top">Lodge Grass:</td> <td>Valley of the Chiefs/Mighty Few City Hall<br />Monday, September 29<br />6 to 8 p.m.</td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top">Pryor:</td> <td>Arrow Creek Community Hall<br />Tuesday, September 30<br />6 to 8 p.m.</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2">An open house for government agencies will be held at:<br><br></td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top">Billings:</td> <td>Bureau of Reclamation Office<br />Red River Room #206<br />2021 4th Avenue North, Billings, MT, 59101<br />Tuesday, September 30<br />1 p.m. to 3 p.m.</td> </tr> </table> <P> The open houses will be hosted by Reclamation, the Crow Tribe, and the Tribe's contractor, Bartlett & West. <P> Representatives for the project will be on hand to provide project information, answer questions, and take comments from the public and agencies. Information on the environmental analysis for the project is available at <a href=""></a>. <P> Scoping comments will be accepted through October 31, 2014. <P> <P>