Bureau of Reclamation Banner, Upper Colorado Region
Fontenelle DamFontenelle Reservoir

Colorado River Storage Project

Fontenelle Working Group
Meeting Minutes
August 18, 2011


This meeting was held at the Joint Powers Water Board boardroom in Green River, Wyoming.  See below for a list of participants.

Purpose of Meeting

The purpose of working group 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.

Hydrology and Operations Presentation - Katrina Grantz

Ed Vidmar welcomed everyone to the fall meeting of the work group.  Everyone introduced themselves and who they represented.  Ed turned the meeting over to Katrina Grantz to explain last spring’s hydrology and what the plans are for the operation of Fontenelle dam for the fall and winter of 2011.

Katrina started with an explanation of the current conditions of Fontenelle dam and reservoir.  The reservoir is currently 93% full.  The current elevation is 6503. This past week the average inflow has been1,600 cfs.  The average releases this past week have been 1,500 cfs.  The current operational plan is to begin ramping down releases next week.

Katrina displayed the snow water equivalent (SWE) graph for 2011.  Peak snowpack was approximately 140% of average and occurred in early May, about three weeks later than typical.  The high elevation snow was about a month late in melting. 

The 2011 spring inflows peaked at 13,000 cfs, and the releases peaked at 8,700 cfs.  The 2011 April thru July inflow volume was 1,221 kaf (142%). 

Katrina presented how the spring river flows compared to the April forecasts that were presented at the April meeting of the Work Group.  She presented the release forecasts versus the actual releases seen this past spring.  In general, inflows and the resulting releases were larger than projected last April and also occurred about three weeks later.

FY2012 Projected Operations
The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center has issued the water year 2012 forecasts.  The projected 2012 ‘most probable’ inflows are for 88% of normal with a volume of 1,070 kaf.  Based on the forecasted inflows for the fall and winter, reservoir releases from could be maintained at 1,400 cfs through spring and stay above 6468ft.  However, in order to manage risk of the forecast potentially decreasing, Reclamation’s operational plan is to release 1,200 cfs until after the Kokanee spawn this fall.  Releases could be adjusted in late October or early November based on actual observed inflows.  The concern will be to have the releases steadied by the time the river freezes over.

Fontenelle annual maintenance will take place this fall. Spillway maintenance begins August 29th and there is a request to keep reservoir 2-3 feet below the spillway crest of 6506’ to accommodate this work. Annual power plant maintenance is scheduled for October 24th thru November 18th.

General Discussion

A question was raised regarding the maximum controlled release capability of the reservoir.  The powerplant can release approximately 1,700 to 1,800 cfs at elevation 6506 ft.  The river outlet works (three gates) are available for additional release, each with a capacity of 6,010, totaling 18,030 cfs (at elevation 6,506 ft).  When the powerplant is operational, the river outlet works capacities are reduced by the level of the powerplant release.  Safe channel capacity through the City of Green River is 11,500cfs.  

Robert Keith indicated the Brown trout come out of gravel in late March.  The Wyoming Game and Fish would like to see spring release increases held off until the fish are out of the gravel, typically the first week of April.

Next Meeting

The next Fontenelle Working Group meeting is scheduled for April 26, 2012 at 10:00 am at the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center below Fontenelle Dam.




Ed Vidmar Bureau of Reclamation
Katrina Grantz Bureau of Reclamation
Bryan Seppie Joint Powers Water Board
Ben Bracken Joint Powers Water Board
Ryan Taucher Pacificorp
Robert Keith Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Natalie Fath US Fish and Wildlife Service
Eugene Smith US Fish and Wildlife Service
Doug Stewart City of Green River
David Johnson Sweetwater County Emergency Management
Judy Roderick Sweetwater County Emergency Management
Joel Gallob Rocket Miner

Email comments/inquires to: ResourceMgr@usbr.gov