9,500cfs coming on Thursday

Here’s the latest from Reclamation:As a result of recent precipitation combined with snowmelt runoff in the Bighorn Basin, inflows into Bighorn Lake have increased to over 10,000 cfs. WYAO also plans to increase releases out of Boysen Reservoir by 1,000 cfs, in anticipation of increased inflows into Boysen Reservoir. To control the rate of fill of storage in Bighorn Lake, the following operations are required at Yellowtail Dam and Powerplant.At 4pm on Wednesday, May 26, river releases will increase from 8,000cfs to 8,750cfs.At 4pm on Thursday, May 27, river releases will increase from 8,750cfs to 9,500cfs.For those who follow the river closely, note that the Bighorn Canal began receiving 100cfs today.

Get Bighorn River releases via cell phone

The USGS is beta testing a program where you can get river releases (and river stage) via your cell phone. You’ll require a phone capable of text messaging, Be advised, standard text messaging charges may apply depending on your carrier’s plan. Follow these simple instructions to get the latest river releases:1. Start a new plain text message. 2. In the To field, type: streamail@usgs.gov3. In the Subject field, type: 062870004. Hit SendIn a few moments, you’ll be sent the current river release in cunic feet per second, as well as the current river stage. Note: You can specify any stream LLID number to check flows on other rivers, too!Enjoy!

6,500cfs to 8,000cfs by tomorrow night

Additional precipitation has dramatically raised inflow forecasts for Bighorn Lake. While the official water order change has not bee released, look for the following changes to river releases:Starting this afternoon at 4pm, river releases will increase from 6,500cfs to 7,000cfs.On Tuesday morning at 8am, releases will increase from 7,000cfs to 7,500cfs.On Tuesday afternoon at 4pm, releases will increase from 7,500cfs to 8,000cfs.We knew Mother Nature was fickle. Now we can be certain she has a sense of humor!

Flows to increase yet again

Looks like the chance that flows would remain stable for the week was wistful thinking. While we appreciate the dynamic nature of hydrologic conditions at this time of year, we are struck by the fact that managing the reservoir with such a high lake elevation is complicating the situation, and adding worry and risk unnecessarily.Record high snowpack in the Wind River basin and the probability of additional precipitation has necessitated additional releases from Boysen Reservoir, which in turn require additional releases from Yellowtail.Therefore, today at 4pm, river releases will increase from 5,700cfs to 6,000cfs.Tomorrow at 4pm, river releases will increase from 6,000cfs to 6,500cfs.The latest word on the BIA canal is that they expect to be able to start taking water on Monday morning.

A slight reduction in releases today

Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) has asked Reclamation for a reduction in turbine releases to maintain reserves in the power generation system. In response, at 4:30pm today, river releases were reduced slightly from 6,000cfs to 5,700cfs. Good news! Releases are expected to remain at or near 6,000cfs for the remainder of the week, barring any significant weather events.

5,500cfs this afternoon and 6,000cfs on Monday

Update: Today’s bump in flows was scheduled for 2pm (not 4pm), and Monday’s bump is scheduled for 10am (not 8am). Sorry for any confusion.This just arrived from Reclamation: Recent storms across the Bighorn River Basin have brought good precipitation and greatly improved the mountain snowpack in the Basin. In anticipation of increased inflows into Boysen Reservoir, plans are to increase releases out of Boysen. In response, to control the rate of fill in Bighorn Lake in anticipation of increased inflows, releases out of Yellowtail Dam to the Bighorn River will be increased.Flows will increase from 5,000cfs to 5,500cfs today at 4pm, and increase another 500cfs to 6,000cfs on Monday at 8am.While we often have our differences with Reclamation, we do recognize the effort they’re making to deal with a rapidly changing water situation, the train derailment near Thermopolis and its consequences, and the uncertainty of the actions of the upstream reservoirs. Most of all, we appreciate them taking the time during this hectic week to solicit input from stakeholders. Now that flows have reached the limit of power generation (with one turbine down), we ask that Reclamation continue to increase releases early to avoid a situation similar to last year.

Flows increase to 5,000cfs for the weekend

As we were expecting, this just arrived from Reclamation:We will be increasing our river releases from the Yellowtail Afterbay Dam by an additional 500 cfs at 4:00 pm today and another 500 cfs at 8:00 am tomorrow morning. This will bring our total release to theriver to 5,000 cfs for the weekend. Why the change? The storms that finished up last night were a real difference maker for the basin. I have attached some snow water equivalent graphs which tell the story.We need to make these adjustments now to control the reservoir rise at this time and be mindful with the warmer weather forecast for the weekend.

Recent storms demand higher releases

The recent storms across the Bighorn Basin has brought much needed precipitation and has dramatically increased the mountain snowpack in the basin. With runoff approaching, Reclamation will use releases to control the rate of fill of Bighorn Lake, which is less than 10 feet from full pool. Accordingly, river releases will be increased from 3,250cfs to 4,000cfs over the next two days.Specifically, flows will increase from 3,250cfs to 3,500cfs on Wednesday at 8:00am.On Wednesday at 4pm, flows will increase from 3,500cfs to 3,750cfs.Finally, on Thursday, flows will again increase from 3,750cfs to 4,000cfs.It is anticipated that additional increases will be required by the first of next week, if not sooner, and flows may be increased to as high as 5,000cfs.As always, the latest updates will be posted here.

Automated gate system back in service

Looks like the Automated Gate Control System is back online. The old system measured the river stage and calculated releases, and was susceptible to errors whenever algae was flourishing. This new system does NOT use river stage and will let Reclamation manage more precise releases in real time. Here’s the press release from Dan Jewell:Normal0falsefalsefalseEN-USX-NONEX-NONE/* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-qformat:yes;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0in;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:11.0pt;font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}Earlier this week Reclamation successfully conducted a Mock Failure Exercise for the Yellowtail Afterbay Dam automated gate control system. This was the final step in our contingency planning process before placing the automated gate control system online. Accordingly, we will be placing the automated gate control system in service for a 120-day real-time evaluation period beginning mid-morning this coming Monday, May 3. Normal0falsefalsefalseEN-USX-NONEX-NONE/* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-qformat:yes;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0in;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:11.0pt;font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to give me a call at 406-247-7298.