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Reclamation Schedules Flushing Flow below Buffalo Bill Reservoir

Media Contact: Bryson Jones 406-591-4761
For Release: Mar 28, 2023

MILLS, Wyo. – The Bureau of Reclamation, at the request of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and in coordination with Willwood Workgroup Two, has scheduled a flushing flow in the Shoshone River downstream of Buffalo Bill Dam.

The flushing flow will begin with rapidly increasing flows on April 11 and conclude on April 14. Willwood Irrigation District, in coordination with Willwood Workgroup Two, is planning a controlled elevated release of sediment from Willwood Dam on April 11.

The sediment release will pass naturally accumulated sediment to facilitate operations and maintenance of the diversion structure. The purpose of the increased flows from Buffalo Bill Dam following the sediment release is to help protect the fishery by mobilizing the sediment downstream. The sediment release and increased flow are being coordinated to minimize impacts to irrigators, recreators, and aquatic life in the Shoshone River.

The Bureau of Reclamation will retime operations and provide the flushing flow with the expectation that excess water will need to be released this spring. The flush will be accomplished without adversely impacting the expected water supply for irrigation.

Flows are expected to fluctuate in the Shoshone River at Cody, Wyoming according to the following schedule:

April 11

10:00 a.m. – Increase from approximately 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 2,000 cfs

12:00 p.m. – Increase to 3,250 cfs

2:00 p.m. – Increase to 4,500 cfs

April 12

8:00 a.m. – Decrease to 3,500 cfs

April 14

2:00 p.m. – Decrease to 3,000 cfs

4:00 p.m. – Decrease to 2,500 cfs

6:00 p.m. – Decrease to 2,000 cfs

8:00 p.m. – Decrease to 1,500 cfs

10:00 p.m. – Decrease to approximately 1,200 cfs and maintain

The schedule may be modified depending on river conditions.

Flows of 4,500 cfs or more in the Shoshone River below Buffalo Bill Dam are not unusual during peak summer snowmelt runoff periods. But the flows will be high for this time of year, and the public is urged to use extreme caution during this period of flushing flows below Buffalo Bill Dam.

Buffalo Bill Reservoir near Cody, Wyoming has a storage capacity of 646,565 acre-feet and provides irrigation water to approximately 95,000 acres. It is a source of municipal water supply to multiple communities, and its power generation facilities provide electricity to thousands of homes.


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