Reclamation Announces Low Storage Levels in Fresno and Nelson Reservoirs

Media Contact: Jack Conner, (406) 247-7300,

For Release: August 08, 2017

BILLINGS, Mont. -- Storage levels in Fresno and Nelson Reservoirs are near expected minimum elevations for the season. Both facilities primarily store water for irrigation and municipal use for the Milk River Project.

Above average temperatures coupled with below average precipitation has led to irrigation demands remaining higher than normal and reservoir storage levels lower than normal. Fresno Reservoir is currently 30 feet below the full storage level of elevation 2575 feet. Nelson Reservoir is nearly 12 feet below the full storage level of 2221.6 feet.

Irrigation operations are starting to ramp down for Milk River Project beneficiaries, about a month sooner than normal. Both reservoirs are expected to gain storage after the middle of August into October as water from the St. Mary River Basin continues to be transferred to the Milk River Basin.

Recreationists are encouraged to use extra caution regarding changing reservoir levels. Boat launching conditions are more challenging at these low reservoir levels. It is advised that people and pets stay away from the intake structure that is directly west of the Fresno Spillway. Currently, access to this area is prohibited.

For further questions, please contact Jack Conner at 406-247-7300.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Montana Area Office Home Page