Reclamation > News & Multimedia > news release > Spring reservoir levels near average in eastern Montana for Memorial Day weekend
Spring reservoir levels near average in eastern Montana for Memorial Day weekend

Media Contact: Brittany Jones 406-247-7611 bjones@usbr.gov
For Release: May 25, 2023

BILLINGS, Mont. — The Bureau of Reclamation announced that projected water levels and releases at most Reclamation-managed reservoirs in eastern Montana will be near average this Memorial Day weekend.   

“Early runoff has been refilling reservoir levels at all facilities,” said Ryan Newman, Montana Area Manager. 

Most of the boat ramps at Reclamation reservoirs east of the Continental Divide during the Memorial Day weekend will be usable.  

“We encourage water-based recreationists to check for the most up-to-date water level conditions at Reclamation’s website https://www.usbr.gov/gp/boat/index.html before heading to your favorite reservoir,” Newman said. “We hope visitors to our reservoirs have a good time while prioritizing safety over the holiday weekend.”  

Current conditions at Reclamation facilities include: 

  • Clark Canyon Reservoir – All boat ramps are usable. Storage is near peak level for the year and is currently 11 feet below normal full pool level. The reservoir is expected to draft throughout the summer as releases are being made to meet irrigation demands. 

 

  • Canyon Ferry Reservoir – All boat ramps are currently usable. The reservoir level is 10 feet below the top of normal full pool and minimum releases to the Missouri River below Holter Dam are near 7,000 cubic feet per second to control storage levels in Canyon Ferry Reservoir.  The reservoir is expected to fill in June.   

 

  • Gibson Reservoir – The boat ramp at Gibson Reservoir is usable for Memorial Day weekend. Gibson Reservoir is 11 feet below normal full pool and is expected to fill.  

 

  • Lake Elwell (Tiber Reservoir) – Boaters can launch at all boat ramps. The reservoir level is about 7 feet below normal full pool. The reservoir is not expected to fill to full pool level this summer. Releases to the Marias River are currently near 500 cfs.   

 

  • Fresno Reservoir – All boat ramps at Fresno Reservoir are currently usable. The reservoir level is near normal full pool and is expected to draft throughout the summer. Releases to the Milk River are currently near 580 cfs to meet irrigation demands.  

 

  • Nelson Reservoir – Boaters should be able to launch at all locations around Nelson Reservoir. Nelson Reservoir is approximately 2 feet below full pool which is average for this time of year and is expected to draft throughout the summer.  

 

  • Bighorn Lake (Yellowtail Dam) – All boat ramps at Bighorn Lake are maintained by the National Park Service. The reservoir level is about 23 feet below normal full pool, which is average for this time of year. The reservoir is expected to fill to full pool level this summer. Releases to the Bighorn River are below average and are currently 3,250 cfs. More information can be found at the National Park Service’s website at https://www.nps.gov/bica/index.htm    

 

Each year hundreds of lives are lost, thousands are injured, and millions of dollars of property damage occurs because of preventable recreational boating accidents on U.S. waterways. Too often recreation outings turn tragic. You — as a boat operator, passenger, or concerned individual — can make a difference. For more information about boating safety visit www.uscgboating.org

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