Reclamation provides update on Willow Creek Dam operations

Media Contact: Jack Conner, 406-247-7300, jconner@usbr.gov

For Release: May 28, 2019

BILLINGS, Montana – The Bureau of Reclamation’s Willow Creek Dam near Augusta, Montana, is experiencing high inflows as a result of heavy rain in the upper Sun River Basin. The current reservoir elevation is about 2 feet above the normal full level and is expected to reach the elevation of the uncontrolled spillway the morning of May 28, 2019. Inflows into Willow Creek Reservoir are currently averaging up to 1,800 cubic feet-per-second.

As the reservoir continues to rise, releases will slowly increase to match inflows as more water is passed through the spillway. Reclamation stresses that there are no concerns with the safety of Willow Creek Dam and is working closely with local and county officials and the Greenfields Irrigation District, which operates and maintains the dam, to communicate the operations at Willow Creek Reservoir and impacts to the Sun River.

A shallow, superficial earthen slide, visible on the downstream face of the dam, poses no danger to the dam. This slide occurred because of topsoil on the downstream face being very saturated from the rains. Steve Davies, Montana Area Office Manager, stated, “We are working cooperatively and jointly with the Greenfields Irrigation District to closely monitor conditions onsite at the dam and are ready to respond should we start to see a sudden increase in the amount of inflows through more rain or snow driven runoff in the higher elevations.”

Local residents should be aware that operation of the uncontrolled spillway is expected to cause the closure of Warden Road north of Augusta as it is directly downstream of the spillway. Please contact your local County Disaster and Emergency Services Office for additional updates related to road closures and impacts from area flooding.

For additional information or questions, please call 406-247-7300.

# # #

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 https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Montana Area Office Homepage

Willow Creek Dam Projects & Facilities Page