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Fontenelle DamFontenelle Reservoir

Colorado River Storage Project

Fontenelle Working Group
Meeting Minutes
April 25, 2013


This meeting was held at Seedskadee Wildlife Refuge 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.

Meeting Overview

Ed Vidmar welcomed everyone to the meeting and had each person introduce themselves and their affiliation.

Forecast Presentation - Ashley Nielson

Ashley Nielson with the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center in Salt Lake gave an update on the precipitation, temperature, snow pack conditions, water supply forecasts and the upcoming short range and long range weather forecasts.

October, December, and April monthly precipitation was above average. All other months had much below average precipitation. As a result, seasonal precipitation is below average between 70 and percent of normal over the basin as a whole. Specific areas such as the Wind River range were much drier in April.

March and April temperatures have been below normal which is opposite of the above normal March and April temperatures in 2012.

Snow water equivalent was 75 percent of average on April 1 and increased to 90 percent of average on April 23 as a result of the above normal precipitation and below normal temperature in the month of April.  The snowpack has continued to accumulate and be retained through April contrary to the spring on 2012.

Water Supply Forecasts:
April 1st most probable (50% exceedance probability) water supply forecast was 405,000 acre-feet (AF) which is 56 % of average with a range of 250,000-600,000 AF. On the April 16 mid month forecast update, the most probable forecast increased to 435,000 AF which is 60% of average.

Weather and Climate Forecasts
Short range weather forecast was for warmer and dryer conditions for the next week.  ENSO conditions are currently still neutral and are forecast to remain neutral through the remainder of the calendar year.  Long rang climate forecasts continue to show increased chances for above normal temperatures and equal changes of below or above normal precipitation through August.

Hydrology and Operations Presentation - Heather Hermansen

Heather Hermansen presented the 2013 hydrology of the Green River and what can be expected to come into Fontenelle reservoir this spring.  Fontenelle is currently 38% full which correlates to 33.3 ft down.  The current release is 850 cfs with an average daily inflow of 650 cfs. 

The April 1 forecast for Fontenelle shows an Apr-Jul runoff volume of 405,000 acre-feet (af) as the 50% forecast and 600,000 af for the 10% exceedence, and 250,000 af for the 90% exceedence.   The April midmonth forecast increased to 435,000 af (60% of average).  Fontenelle reservoir is projected to get to 6503 this year.

The Fontenelle release plan based on the April final forecast of 405,000 af is for continued 850 cubic feet per second (cfs) releases through the summer following by an increase to approximately 1,000 cfs over winter.   The release plan based on the April midmonth forecast of 435,000 af is for steady 850 cfs releases through May with an increase to approximately 1,050 cfs for the remainder of the summer through the winter.   

Fontenelle releases under the April minimum probable forecast of 250,000 af would decrease to 800 cfs through August and then decrease again to 750 cfs for the remainder of the winter period.  Fontenelle releases under the April maximum probable forecast of 600,000 af is for an increase in releases to 1,200 cfs with a spring peak in June of 3,200 cfs.  The maximum probable summer release would be 1,100 cfs through the winter period.   The possibility of a small bypass release does exist sometime in June or July depending on runoff conditions.

Fontenelle Stilling Basin Discussion - Mark Neeley

Mark Neeley gave a presentation on the expected O&M repair activities at the outlet works stilling basin later this summer.  The plan is to have the stilling basin dewatered by July 29, and to make all the concrete repairs over the course of four weeks in August.

There was discussion on what the intended actions in terms of releases from Fontenelle would be in the event of the power plant going off line during the repair work.  The thought is that if the power plant is expected to be out of service for more than a few hours, the West Canal outlet works would be used to get water to the river.  This release would most likely be on the order of about 500 cfs.

If the power plant is expected to be offline for an extended period, the decision would be made to flood the outlet works stilling basin and make releases to the river. 

General Discussion

Ben Bracken and Brian Seppie mentioned the difficulties of operating the treatment plant through periods of low releases.

Green River City would like 2,000 cfs for a couple days to check the work that was done on the river. 

Next Meeting

The next meeting date was set for August 22, 2013 at 10:00 am at the Joint Powers and Water Board located in Green River, Wyoming.




Ed Vidmar Bureau of Reclamation, Provo
Shane Mower Bureau of Reclamation, Provo
Heather Hermansen Bureau of Reclamation, Salt Lake City
Mark Neeley Bureau of Reclamation, Salt Lake City
Rick Clayton Bureau of Reclamation, Salt Lake City
Steve Hulet Bureau of Reclamation, Flaming Gorge Dam
Kirk Jensen Bureau of Reclamation, Fontenelle Dam
Ashley Nielson Colorado Basin River Forecast Center
Ben Bracken Joint Powers Water Board
Bryan Seppie Joint Powers Water Board
Mike Meyer Pacificorp, Jim Bridger Power Plant
Ryan Taucher Pacificorp
Judy Roderick SWC Emergency Management
David Johnson SWC Emergency Management
Tom Koerner Seedskadee NWR
Robert Keith Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Erik Roosa City of Green River
Doug Stewart City of Green River

Email comments/inquires to: ResourceMgr@usbr.gov