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Flaming Gorge DamFlaming Gorge Dam

Colorado River Storage Project

Fontenelle Working Group
Meeting Minutes
August 21, 2007


This meeting was held at the Wyoming Fish and Game Department Field office in Green River Wyoming.

Purpose of Meeting

The purpose of operation meetings (held in April, and August) is to inform the public and other interested parties of Reclamation's current and future operational plans and to gather information from the public regarding specific resources associated with Fontenelle Reservoir. In addition, the meetings are used to coordinate activities and exchange information among agencies, water users, and other interested parties concerning the Green River.


Ed Vidmar called the meeting to order on time with 11 people in attendance. Ed gave introductions and then turned the meeting over to Rick Clayton who provided a presentation of the hydrologic condition in the Green River basin.

Hydrology - Rick Clayton

This presentation is available as a pdf document through a link near the bottom of this page. The current elevation of Fontenelle Reservoir is 6488 feet above sea level which is about 18 feet from the full pool elevation of 6506 feet above sea level. The current drought is now in its 8th year with 2007 being the 3rd driest of this drought period (2001 and 2002 were dryer). 2007 will be the 4th driest year on record since the closure of Fontenelle Dam (42 years from 1965 to 2007). Inflows are about 480 cfs with current releases of 810 cfs so reservoir storage is being released to augment river flows by about 330 cfs.

Snow conditions in the spring of 2007 only reached 60% of normal and the inflow hydrograph this spring was very dry only reaching about 3000 cfs during mid May. Inflows were extremely poor in June and July at less than 20% of normal for both months.

The reservoir elevation reached a peak in early June of about 6490 feet above sea level which is 16 feet from full pool elevation. Forecast condition in April were reasonably accurate this year with the actual inflow for April through July coming in within the middle 2 quartiles of the distribution of possible inflows that the River Forecast Center was predicting. The actual inflow was only 294,000 acre-feet which was 34% of normal.

For water year 2008 early predictions are for another dry year with the annual operating plan water year inflow to Fontenelle only being 69% of normal. But with this inflow volume Reclamation will likely be able to fill the reservoir and some potential exists for bypass releases during the spring.

General Discussion - Ed Vidmar

Bryan Seppie stated that the JPWB water treatment plant in Green River struggles when conditions are this dry due to tributary volitility. A fish kill on August 1st was discussed and we are still waiting on the investigation by DEQ to determine the cause. Chuck Green stated that operations at Fontenelle Dam have been consistent through the critical time period so the cause is likely not related to dam operations. The group discussed the need for better communications of such events and Brian Seppie will contact DEQ to develop a call list so that the key personelle get contacted as soon as possible when such events occur.

Rick Clayton suggested that 810 cfs release rate is too high given current hydrology and suggested that releases need to be cut to 700 cfs. The group agreed and asked that Reclamation hold off until after labor day. Reclamation agreed to schedule a ramp down not to exceed 50 cfs/day beginning on Sept. 4th.

There was some discussion of the difference between the releases Reclamation claims to be releasing and the flows measured by the USGS gage below Fontenelle Dam. There appears to be about a 100 cfs difference between these values. Reclamation stands behind its release values because they are measured by an accusonic flow meter on the penstock which is a very accurate measurement device. USGS staff was not present at the meeting but have indicated that this gage is subject to errors associated with moss and rocks in the river cross section at ths gage site.

Thers was also some discussion of changes at the Wyoming Department of Water Development Commission. Dave Zelinka is no longer representing this agency on this workgroup and his replacement ins Mike Besson. Reclamation will make contact with Mike to make sure that he is receiveing correspondence.

Next Meeting

The next workgroup meeting will be held on April 22, 2008 at 10:00 am at the visitor center of Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge which is about 13 miles below Fontenelle Dam on the Green River.

Previous Meeting Minutes

Fontenelle Working Group Meeting Minutes:




Russ Findlay USBR-Provo  
Eddie Baker Pacificorp  
Ed Boe WY State Engineers Office  
Mike Meyer Pacificorp  
Ed Vidmar USBR-Provo  
Rick Clayton USBR-SLC  
Chuck Green USBR-Fontenelle Dam  
Bart McDermott FWS-Seedskadee NWR  
Robert Keith WGFD  
Bryan Seppie JPWB  
Ben Bracken JPWB  

Email comments/inquires to: ResourceMgr@uc.usbr.gov