Great Plains Region Newsroom Channel http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom Reclamation Newsroom Channel http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49113 Alcova Reservoir Water Level to Rise
MILLS, Wyo. -- The annual filling of Alcova Reservoir will begin on Wednesday, Apr. 1, 2015, according to Deputy Wyoming Area Manager, Lyle Myler. <P> During April, the reservoir will rise approximately 10 feet to the summer irrigation operating level. The rate of rise will average approximately 5 inches per day. Upon reaching the summer irrigation operating level, the reservoir will remain at elevation 5498 feet plus or minus 1 foot until October 1, 2015. "This increase in reservoir level will be completed by May 1 to allow deliveries to the Casper-Alcova Irrigation District Canal," said Myler. <P> Recreationists and reservoir users are advised to take proper precautions associated with the rising reservoir level. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49114 Yellowtail Dam and Bighorn Lake Spring/Summer Operations Public Meeting
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation will present information about water supply conditions in the Bighorn Basin and discuss proposed spring/summer operating plans for Yellowtail Dam/Bighorn Lake at a public meeting on Thursday, April 9, starting at 1 p.m. <P> The meeting will be held in the Billings Hotel and Convention Center, located at 1223 Mullowney Lane, Billings, Mont. <P> Stakeholders and interested parties in both Montana and Wyoming are encouraged to attend the meeting and participate in the discussions. <P> For additional information, please contact Jack Conner of the Montana Area Office, Bureau of Reclamation, at 406-247-7300. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49108 $1.5 Million Contract Awarded to Repair Colorado-Big Thompson Infrastructure Damaged by 2013 Flooding
BILLINGS, Mont. – The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a contract totaling nearly $1.5 million to Lillard and Clark Construction Company Inc., Denver, for repair to the Big Thompson Diversion Structure, an element of the Colorado-Big Thompson project that was damaged during the September 2013 flood, known as one of the worst natural disasters in Colorado history. <P> “Reclamation is addressing the infrastructure damage that occurred during the 2013 Colorado River flooding,” said Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López, while announcing today’s $1,457,570 contract award. “This work will ensure the project’s continued reliability.” <P> Big Thompson Diversion Structure, located 8.5 miles west of Loveland, Colorado, in Larimer County, requires removal and restoration of flood-damaged concrete areas, installation of a precast concrete building, repair and replacement of electrical systems, gates, gear boxes, electric motors and other rehabilitation tasks. The work is expected to begin in April 2015. <P> The Colorado-Big Thompson project spans approximately 250 miles in Colorado. It stores, regulates and diverts water from the Colorado River on the western slope of the Continental Divide to the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, providing supplemental water to irrigate about 720,000 acres of land for municipal and industrial uses, hydroelectric power and water-oriented recreation opportunities. Major features of the project include dams, dikes, reservoirs, power plants, pumping plants, pipelines, tunnels, transmission lines, substations and other associated structures. The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District apportions water used for irrigation to more than 120 ditches and 60 reservoirs. Eleven communities receive municipal and industrial water from the project. Electric power produced by six power plants is marketed by the Western Division of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49082 Reclamation Delays Onsite Construction of Nelson Dikes Safety Modifications to 2016
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Bureau of Reclamation is delaying the majority of onsite construction work for the Safety of Dams (SOD) Modification to Nelson Reservoir Dikes, located in Phillips County approximately 25 miles northeast of Malta, Mont. The schedule delay will push the project back one year from the fall of 2015 to the fall of 2016. Brent Esplin, Montana Area Manager, said, "Award of the construction contract may still occur in 2015. However, the majority of onsite work, including the required reservoir drawdown, will not occur until fall 2016." Work will require the reservoir to be drawn down approximately 14 feet lower than normal operating levels during the winter of 2016-2017. This change minimizes the required timeframe that reservoir levels will be drawn down. <P> Reclamation proposes to correct seepage-related safety deficiencies for the two largest dikes at Nelson Reservoir. According to Esplin, "Interim measures have been implemented, and frequent monitoring is being carried out to ensure public safety until the modifications are completed." <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="http://www.usbr.gov/gp/mtao/nelson/">http://www.usbr.gov/gp/mtao/nelson/</a>. <P> For additional information or questions, please call 406-247-7300. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49054 Boysen Reservoir Water Information Meeting
Mills, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Area Office of the Bureau Of Reclamation in Mills, Wyoming, has scheduled a Boysen Reservoir Water Information Meeting in Worland, Wyoming. <P> The meeting will be held at 09:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2015, at the Elks Lodge at 604 Coburn Avenue in Worland, Wyoming. Topics of discussion will be current water supply conditions, the 2015 snowmelt runoff forecast, and 2015 projected reservoir operations. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49052 Fluctuation of Bighorn River Flow Downstream of Boysen Dam
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation, at the request of, and in collaboration with, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGF), has scheduled a flushing flow in the Big Horn River downstream of Boysen Dam, according to Wyoming Area Manager, Carlie Ronca. <P> "The purpose of the flushing flow is to improve trout reproduction by flushing fine sediments from spawning gravels in the river," Ronca said. The flushing flow also improves insect production in the stream by opening up interstitial spaces between gravels and cobbles. The flushing flow is generally welcomed by anglers because it provides easier wading conditions. Following the flushing flow there is a reduction in floating algae. <P> Flows in the river below Boysen Dam will fluctuate from 925 cfs to 5000 cfs during the flushing flow. On Mar. 24 at 2:00 a.m., the release of water from Boysen Dam will be increased to 3000 cfs and further increased to 5000 cfs at approximately 7:00 a.m. for 10 hours before being reduced gradually back to 925 cfs by approximately 11:00 a.m. on Mar. 25, 2015. The schedule may be modified depending on river ice conditions. <P> The public is urged to use extreme caution during this period of rapid fluctuation of flows below Boysen Dam. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49053 Buffalo Bill Reservoir Water Information Meeting
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Area Office of the Bureau Of Reclamation in Mills, Wyoming, has scheduled a Buffalo Bill Reservoir Water Information Meeting in Powell, Wyoming. <P> The meeting will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2015, at the Eagles Lodge at 131 N. Clark in Powell, Wyoming. Topics of discussion will be current water supply conditions, the 2015 snowmelt runoff forecast, and 2015 projected reservoir operations. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49038 Reclamation Issues Snowmelt Runoff Forecast for Bighorn River Basin
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Reclamation's March 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 677,800 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 100 percent of the 30 year average of 402,000 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 1,065,600 af, which is 99 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>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49033 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 March 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 515,000 acre feet (AF) or 59% of the 30 year average of 870,000 AF. Approximately 400,000 AF (58% 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 February 28, 2015 is 1,858,400 AF, which is 116% of the 30-year average of 1,597,000 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 February 28, 2015 is 796,400 AF or 139% of average. <P> Reclamation will update the inflow forecasts again in April, and May. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49027 New Deputy Regional Director Selected for Reclamation's Great Plains Region
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Great Plains Regional Director Michael J. Ryan announced today the selection of Christopher Beardsley as Deputy Regional Director for the Bureau of Reclamation's Great Plains Region, headquartered in Billings, Mont. <P> "Christopher will fill a critical role on my management team in Billings," said Ryan. "He has a distinguished management career that will serve our customers well. He brings a tremendous breadth of Reclamation experience and knowledge to his position." <P> Beardsley will assist Ryan in managing Reclamation facilities and programs in the Great Plains Region. The region encompasses all or parts of nine states, from Montana and North Dakota, to the southern tip of Texas. The Great Plains Region manages 80 dams and reservoirs, providing irrigation for 2.2 million acres of cropland producing more than $1 billion in agriculture products annually. The Great Plains Region manages 21 power plants that produce enough electricity to meet the needs of about 250,000 households. <P> Beardsley was previously the Deputy Area Manager for Reclamation's Snake River Area Office, based in Boise, Idaho. As Deputy Area Manager, he was responsible for the operation of water and power facilities from eastern Oregon to western Wyoming. Beardsley directly oversees all activities within the Middle Snake Field Office, which includes 17 dams and three power plants. He began his federal career with Reclamation in 1992, serving as an International Affairs Specialist for the Commissioner's Office in Washington, D.C. Beardsley has a Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University. <P> Beardsley replaces Deputy Regional Director Gary Campbell, who retired in March 2015. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48947 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>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48766 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>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48707 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>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48627 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>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48406 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="http://www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/nepa/windy_gap.html">http://www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/nepa/windy_gap.html</a>. <P>