Great Plains Region Newsroom Channel http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom Reclamation Newsroom Channel http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=50307 Reclamation Announces Temporary Closure of Seminoe Road
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation will implement two short-term temporary closures of a section of Seminoe Road between the Miracle Mile bridge over the North Platte River below Kortes Dam, and the North Red Hills entrance to Seminoe State Park, according to Carlie Ronca, Wyoming Area Manager. <P> "These temporary closures are necessary to facilitate the replacement of two culverts crossing under the road," said Ronca. "The culvert replacements are part of ongoing work by Reclamation to repair road damage caused by a heavy rainstorm in August of 2014." <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 for the first culvert replacement on the morning of Wednesday, September 9, and reopened by the evening of Thursday, September 10. <P> The same section of road will be closed again on the morning of Monday September 14 for the second culvert replacement. The road will be reopened by the evening of Tuesday September 15. <P> Seminoe State Park will remain open and accessible from the south via Carbon County Road 351 from Sinclair. The Miracle Mile recreation area will remain 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 closures 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>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=50208 Reclamation signs Northwest Area Water Supply Project Record of Decision
The Bureau of Reclamation today signed a Record of Decision selecting the preferred alternative proposed for the Northwest Area Water Supply Project (NAWS). The project is designed to deliver a bulk water supply to meet municipal and rural water needs of people in northwestern North Dakota. <P> The Record of Decision was signed by Reclamation's Great Plains Regional Director Michael J. Ryan, and would implement the preferred alternative identified in the NAWS Project Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). <P> "The project was authorized because existing water supplies are not of sufficient quality or quantity to reliably meet current needs or projected growth," said Ryan. "This decision marks another step in our efforts to bring reliable, quality water to the people of northwest North Dakota." <P> The selected alternative, which was evaluated in the SEIS, uses Lake Sakakawea as the primary water supply. Reclamation's Snake Creek Pumping Plant, located along U.S. Highway 83, will be modified to serve as the intake for the project. Water from Lake Sakakawea will be conveyed in a buried pipeline to a biota water treatment plant (WTP) near Max, North Dakota which will treat the water using conventional treatment processes. From there the water will be conveyed through another pipeline segment to the Minot WTP. At the Minot WTP, Missouri River water will be blended with groundwater and treated to meet Safe Drinking Water Act regulations before being supplied to project members through a distribution system. <P> "This is a culmination of local, state and federal entities partnering together to manage and develop water resources in an environmentally sound manner," said David Rosenkrance, Reclamation's Dakotas Area Manager. <P> The signing of the Record of Decision completes the requirements for the National Environmental Policy Act. It also fulfills Reclamation's obligation under a court order related to an ongoing lawsuit filed in the United States District Court. The lawsuit was filed by the Province of Manitoba and the State of Missouri challenging previous environmental studies completed for the project. Because of the ongoing litigation and the injunction in place preventing any construction activity on NAWS, the District Court for the District of Columbia, will need to rule on the adequacy of Reclamation's environmental analysis pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act before construction could move forward. <P> The Final SEIS was released in April 2015 and is available for download at <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/gp">www.usbr.gov/gp</a>. The Record of Decision is also available on this same website or upon request by contacting Alicia Waters at (701) 221-1206 or awaters@usbr.gov. <P> For additional information please contact Patience Hurley, Bureau of Reclamation, at (701) 221-1204 or phurley@usbr.gov. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=50228 Bureau of Reclamation Provides Update on Milk River Basin Reservoir Conditions
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation's Montana Area Office reports that the Milk River Joint Board of Control, which oversees the irrigation operations for eight Irrigation Districts comprising the Milk River Project, will be ending the 2015 irrigation season near the end of August. While water levels in Fresno and Nelson Reservoirs are above average for this time of year, they are lower than the water levels at this same time last year. Reservoir inflows are below average due to low snowpack conditions this past winter and dry conditions in the basin. This has placed increased demand on the available storage this year. Shutting off irrigation deliveries near the end of August will help to conserve the remaining storage for the 2016 irrigation season. If climate and weather conditions improve during the coming months, reservoir levels may again be full next spring. <P> Current conditions at Reclamation's Milk River reservoirs include: <P> <strong>Fresno Reservoir</strong> - 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 10 feet below the top of the active conservation pool and approximately 5.0 feet lower than at this time last year. <P> <strong>Nelson Reservoir</strong> - Nelson Reservoir is above average for this time of year at about 5.5 feet below the top of active conservation pool and approximately 2.0 feet lower than at this time last year. <P> For more information on current reservoir operating conditions, visit Reclamation's Montana Area Office website at, <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/gp/mtao/index.html">www.usbr.gov/gp/mtao/</a>. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=50148 Reclamation to Conduct Investigations at Fresno Dam
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) will conduct geotechnical investigations at Fresno Dam starting in late August and continuing into early October. <P> The investigations, which are being conducted in support of Reclamation's Safety of Dams Program, are designed to help determine embankment and foundation characteristics for use in verifying the continued safe operation of the facility. The investigations will involve several exploratory drill holes within the dam embankment as well as open trench excavations along the downstream face of the dam. Several of the drill holes are located on the crest of the dam which will necessitate a road restriction to a single 10-foot lane. Traffic control measures will be in place while drilling. No change in reservoir operations is anticipated as a result of the investigations. <P> Construction of Fresno Dam was completed in 1939. The dam is located on the Milk River about fifteen miles west of Havre, Montana, and is owned and operated by Reclamation. <P> Questions concerning the investigations should be directed to Mr. Jack Conner of Reclamation's Montana Area Office at (406) 247-7300. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49903 Reclamation Announces Decision Regarding OIG investigation and Questioned Costs for Rocky Boy’s North Central Project
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Bureau of Reclamation's Great Plains Regional Director, Michael J. Ryan, announced today Reclamation's decision for Chippewa Cree Tribe to reimburse $3,085,460 of the more than $12 million identified as questionable costs following the Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation involving funds provided to the Tribe between 2006 and 2012 for the Rocky Boy's North Central Montana Regional Water System Project. <P> "Reclamation reached its decision after careful consideration of the facts in consultation with the Chippewa Cree Tribe," said Ryan. <P> In March 2013, Reclamation was made aware of allegations and investigations into the possible misuse of funds by some individuals associated with the Project. Reclamation and the Tribe met and jointly agreed the most prudent course would be to obtain an immediate and independent audit of Project costs. The OIG was requested to conduct the audit. <P> "The Tribe and Reclamation worked very hard to cooperatively get to the final number from the auditors questioned costs of over $12 million," said Chippewa Cree Vice-Chairman Ted Whitford. "This reflects well on the partnership between the Tribe and Reclamation in supporting our Project." <P> In addition to the decision requiring the Tribe to repay $3.1 million, Reclamation and the Tribe have jointly agreed to incorporate new terms and conditions into Annual Funding Agreements, changed annual funding advances to monthly reimbursements, and created a separate joint bank account for withdrawing funds approved for reimbursement. <P> "I am well aware of the impact this decision has on the Tribe," said Ryan. "Rest assured, Reclamation continues to be in full support of the Project and its efforts to provide a reliable supply of potable water to more than 28,000 Tribal and non-Tribal citizens in northcentral Montana." <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49889 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 12: 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 2015 spring run-off and deliver 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="mailto:tmiller@usbr.gov">tmiller@usbr.gov</a>. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49667 Guernsey Reservoir Silt Run, Updated
MILLS, Wyo. -- At the request of Goshen, Gering-Fort Laramie, and Pathfinder Irrigation Districts, the Guernsey Reservoir Silt Run is being delayed six days from the previous schedule. The delay is in response to some areas receiving up to 3" of rainfall on July 6, requiring the districts to reduce diversion rates from the North Platte River. The Wyoming Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation in Mills, Wyo., will delay lowering the water level in Guernsey Reservoir in preparation for the annual silt run until July 13. "The silt run provides silt-laden water to Goshen, Gering-Fort Laramie, and Pathfinder Irrigation Districts under contract with Reclamation. The silt lines the canals and laterals, reducing water seepage and increasing bank stabilization," according to Carlie Ronca, Wyoming Area Manager. <P> In preparation for the silt run, on the afternoon of July 13, the release of water from Glendo Reservoir will be decreased from about 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to a flow of approximately 1,000 cfs. The decreased flow will cause a rapid decline of the Guernsey Reservoir level of approximately 22 feet starting the night of July 13 through July 19. The boat ramps at Guernsey Reservoir will no longer be useable due to the low reservoir level by Thursday, July 16. Water being released from Glendo Reservoir will flow through Guernsey Reservoir flushing silt from Guernsey Reservoir into the canals of downstream irrigators. The silt run will begin on July 20 and is anticipated to continue through August 2. Beginning on August 2, the release of water from Glendo Reservoir will be rapidly increased to refill Guernsey Reservoir. The level of Guernsey Reservoir is expected to be suitable for recreation again by the afternoon of August 5. <P> Boaters, recreationists, and irrigators should take proper precautions regarding changing river flows below Glendo and Guernsey Reservoirs and the rapid lowering and refilling of Guernsey Reservoir. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49593 Guernsey Reservoir Silt Run
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation in Mills, Wyo., will be lowering the water level in Guernsey Reservoir in preparation for the annual silt run according to Lyle Myler, Wyoming Deputy Area Manager. "The silt run is an operation which provides silt-laden water to Goshen, Gering-Fort Laramie, and Pathfinder Irrigation Districts under contract with Reclamation," Myler said. <P> On the afternoon of July 5, the release of water from Glendo Reservoir will be decreased from about 2,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) to a flow of approximately 1,000 cfs. The decreased flow will cause a rapid decline of the Guernsey Reservoir level of approximately 25 feet starting the night of July 5 through July 13. By Sunday, July 12, the boat ramps at Guernsey Reservoir will no longer be useable due to the low reservoir level. Water being released from Glendo Reservoir will flow through Guernsey Reservoir flushing silt from Guernsey Reservoir into the canals of downstream irrigators. The silt run will begin on July 14 and is anticipated to continue through July 28. Beginning on July 28, the release of water from Glendo Reservoir will be rapidly increased to refill Guernsey Reservoir. The level of Guernsey Reservoir is expected to be suitable for recreation again by the evening of July 31. <P> Boaters, recreationists, and irrigators should take proper precautions regarding changing river flows below Glendo and Guernsey Reservoirs and the rapid lowering and refilling of Guernsey Reservoir. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49592 Dickinson Reservoir Water Levels Lowered for Routine Maintenance
BISMARCK, N.D. -- Reclamation will temporarily lower the water level of Dickinson Reservoir beginning July 5 to allow for maintenance of the dam’s water gate. <P> "The work is part of Reclamation's routine inspection and maintenance associated with all Reclamation water reservoirs," said Darrin Goetzfried, Deputy of Facilities and Engineering. <P> For the duration of the work, which could take up to four weeks, Reclamation will keep the lake elevation below 2416.5 feet, which is the elevation of the original dam crest. 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>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49567 Reclamation Releases FONSI for Rehabilitation and Improvement of the Crow Irrigation Project
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Based upon the analysis of the environmental impacts described in the Programmatic Environmental Assessment, the Bureau of Reclamation has released a Finding of No Significant Impact and Decision Notice for the Rehabilitation and Improvement of the Crow Irrigation Project, located on the Crow Indian Reservation in Big Horn County, Montana. <P> Reclamation has selected the Proposed Action alternative for implementation. The Proposed Action includes the following five phases of work, listed by order of priority: <P> <ol> <li>Rehabilitation/betterment of irrigation structures;</li> <li>Rehabilitation/betterment of canals and laterals;</li> <li>Alternative on-farm irrigation systems;</li> <li>Purchase of fee lands;</li> <li>Developing irrigation on future trust lands.</li> </ol> <P> The EA and FONSI are available at <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/gp/nepa/cip/index.html">http://www.usbr.gov/gp/nepa/cip/index.html</a>. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49537 Reclamation Releases Draft EA for Water Treatment Plant Pilot Study
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed Water Treatment Plant Pilot Study Project for public review and comment. The comment period will close on July 10. <P> The Crow Tribe, in cooperation with Reclamation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, prepared the Draft EA to evaluate the environmental consequences of a three month water treatment plant pilot study, located in Big Horn County in south-central Montana. <P> The proposed project would gather information to aid in the design of a municipal, rural and industrial (MR&I) water system to serve the Crow Indian Reservation. The design and construction of the MR&I system was authorized as a part of the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2010. <P> The Draft EA is available electronically at <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/gp/nepa/cmri/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.usbr.gov/gp/nepa/cmri/index.html</a>. <P> Paper copies of the Draft EA can be viewed at the following locations: <P> Bureau of Reclamation<br> 2nd Floor – Room 200 and 5th Floor – Room 514<br> 2021 4th Avenue North<br> Billings, MT 59101 <P> Bureau of Indian Affairs<br> Building #2, Room 69<br> Weaver Drive<br> Crow Agency, MT 59022 <P> Crow Tribe Water Resource Department<br> 189 Heritage Lane<br> Crow Agency, MT 59022 <P> Comments on the Draft EA can be sent to: <a href="mailto:cmgomer@usbr.gov">cmgomer@usbr.gov</a>; Christina Gomer, Bureau of Reclamation, 2021 4th Avenue North, Billings, MT 59101; or, faxed to 406-247-7680. Comments will be accepted until midnight on Friday, July 10. For additional information or to request a hard copy of the Draft EA, please contact Christina Gomer, Bureau of Reclamation, at 406-247-7753 or <a href="mailto:cmgomer@usbr.gov">cmgomer@usbr.gov</a>. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49531 Reclamation Makes Higher Water Releases From Pueblo Dam
LOVELAND, Colo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation is increasing releases to 5,300 cfs today from Pueblo Dam to ensure there is enough floodwater storage in the reservoir. An additional increase of 500 cfs is anticipated for tomorrow. <P> The reservoir water elevation is currently rising at an average rate of 1 foot per day, and these releases will make more room in the reservoir for the potential future flood water inflows. <P> "More than 35,000 acre-feet of flood water is currently stored at Pueblo Reservoir," said Eastern Colorado Area Manager, Jaci Gould. "Due to snowmelt, recent local precipitation and upstream reservoirs passing native water, inflows to Pueblo Reservoir are exceeding outflows. Reclamation needs to create space for potentially much higher water inflows." <P> All facilities are safe and performing efficiently. Rising water levels can be expected in the river downstream that may result in lowland flooding. Adjacent landowners should take appropriate precautions for property in lowland areas. <P> "Releases will be adjusted daily, or more often, as inflows and precipitation events dictate," said Gould. "We will continue working with the Corps and Colorado DWR to monitor the inflows and water releases and to evaluate potential impacts downstream in concurrence with Reclamation’s protocol and procedures." <P> <strong>Safety Tips:</strong> <ul> <li>When driving, always be aware that the road bed under flood waters may be severely damaged. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. Remember that it takes only two feet of water to carry away a vehicle, including pickups and SUVs.</li> <li>If your vehicle stalls, get out immediately and go to higher ground.</li> <li>Be extra cautious at night, when it is harder to see possible flood dangers.</li> <li>These four words could save your life: TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN.</li> </ul> <P> Reclamation is coordinating these flood control operations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Colorado Division of Water Resources. <P> Contact Patience Hurley for additional information at 701.426.5392, or <a href="mailto:phurley@usbr.gov">phurley@usbr.gov</a>. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49487 Update Twin Lakes Water Releases - Flows to Lake Creek to Increase
LOVELAND, Colo. - Reclamation would like to make the public aware that water releases being made from Twin Lakes and passed down to Lake Creek will be increasing. <P> “This water release is a standard native flow release that we make every year and is just happening to coincide with increased rain and snow melt in the area,” said Eastern Colorado Area Manager, Jaci Gould. <P> All native inflows into Twin Lakes, or snow melt runoff and rain, are passed down to Lake Creek and released as they come in. Twin Lakes Canal Company however has been storing native inflows to Twin Lakes over the past three weeks under their water right. As they approach their storage limit, the Bureau of Reclamation has been increasing native flows down Lake Creek to match the native inflows. <P> “Twin Lakes Canal Company shut off their transmountain diversion at Twin Lakes Tunnel because their facility is near full,” said Gould. “They turned the tunnel on for a short time late this week to help alleviate minor flooding on the west slope. They stored that water temporarily and the tunnel has now been shut off again. <P> Reclamation, along with the Twin Lakes Canal Company, continues to monitor inflows and water being released downstream in concurrence with Reclamation’s Safety of Dams protocol and procedures. <P> All facilities are safe and performing efficiently. <P> Contact Patience Hurley for additional information at 701.426.5392, or phurley@usbr.gov. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49471 Reclamation Anticipating Higher Releases from Olympus Dam into the Big Thompson River
LOVELAND, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation is currently releasing 600 cfs from Olympus Dam into the Big Thompson River. Based on National Weather Service rainfall and runoff forecasts, Reclamation anticipates the potential need to increase water releases from Olympus Dam into Big Thompson River. <P> “Reclamation’s facilities and dams are safe and performing well,” said Eastern Colorado Area Manager, Jaci Gould. “During this rainfall event and throughout spring runoff we will continue providing updates on changes in releases from Olympus Dam. <P> To learn if there are any changes to releases, residents can follow the Olympus Dam Facebook page at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/LakeEstesandOlyDam" target="_blank">https://www.facebook.com/LakeEstesandOlyDam</a>. Significant changes will also be posted on Reclamation's Twitter account at <a href="https://twitter.com/usbr" target="_blank">https://twitter.com/usbr</a>. <P> For additional information, contact Patience Hurley at 701-221-1204. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49450 Reclamation Issues Snowmelt Forecast for Bighorn River Basin
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Reclamation's June forecast for the April through July runoff predicted for the Bighorn Basin and North Platte is as follows: <P> <ul> <li>Bighorn Lake - Bighorn River April through July inflow to Bighorn Lake is forecast at 1,469,300 af, which is 136 percent of the 30 year average of 1,081,600 af. Approximately 442,300 af of the forecasted amount flowed into Bighorn Lake during April and May, leaving 1,027,000 af of inflow forecasted for June and July.</li><br> <li>Buffalo Bill Reservoir - Shoshone River April through July inflow to Buffalo Bill Reservoir is forecast at 650,000 af, which is 96 percent of the 30 year average of 678,000 af. Approximately 259,000 af of the forecasted amount flowed into Buffalo Bill during April and May, leaving 391,000 af of inflow forecasted for June through July.</li><br> <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. Approximately 157,000 af of the forecasted amount was received during April and May, leaving 243,000 af of inflow forecasted for June through July.</li><br> <li>Bull Lake Reservoir - April through July snowmelt runoff into Bull Lake Reservoir from Bull Lake Creek is expected to be 140,000 af, which is 102 percent of the 30 year average of 137,000 af. Approximately 35,000 af of the forecasted amount flowed into Bull Lake during April and May, leaving 105,000 af of inflow forecasted for June through July.</li><br> <li>Boysen Reservoir - Wind River April through July inflow to Boysen Reservoir is forecast at 600,000 af, which is 112 percent of the 30 year average of 534,000 af. Approximately 237,000 af of the forecasted amount flowed into Boysen during April and May, leaving 363,000 af of inflow forecasted for June through July.</li> </ul> <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 Yellowtail Reservoir, contact Montana Area Manager Brent Esplin at 406-247-7298. <P>