BILLINGS, MONT. — The Bureau of Reclamation will present information about water supply conditions in the Bighorn Basin and discuss proposed spring/summer operating plans for Yellowtail Dam at a public meeting on Thursday, April 5.The meeting will be held in the MSU-Billings Downtown Conference Room, located at 2804 3rd Avenue North, Billings, Mont., starting at 7 p.m.Stakeholders and interested parties in both Montana and Wyoming are encouraged to attend the meeting and participate in the discussions.For additional information, please contact Paula Holwegner of the Montana Area Office, Bureau of Reclamation, at 406-247-7300.
The Bureau of Reclamation, at the request of, and in collaboration with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGF), has scheduled a flushing flow in the Big Horn River downstream of Boysen Dam, according to Acting Wyoming Area Manager, Lyle D. Myler.The purpose of the flushing flow is to improve trout reproduction by flushing fine sediments from spawning gravels in the river. The flushing flow also improves insect production in the stream by opening up interstitial spaces between gravels and cobbles. The flushing flow is generally welcomed by anglers because it provides easier wading conditions. Following the flushing flow there is a reduction in floating algae.Flows in the river below Boysen Dam will fluctuate from 950 cfs to 5000 cfs during the flushing flow. On March 27 at 2:00 a.m., the release of water from Boysen Dam will be increased to 2300 cfs and further increased to 5000 cfs at approximately 7:00 a.m. for 10 hours before being reduced gradually back to 950 cfs by approximately 4:00 a.m. on March 28, 2012.The public is urged to use extreme caution during this period of rapid fluctuation of flows below Boysen Dam.
During this week’s conference call with Reclamation, stakeholders were told that the April through July inflows forecast predicts a somewhat higher inflow forecast than the previous month and that river releases would remain at 3,130cfs. However, notice of a slight reduction was just received late this afternoon from Reclamation: Based on the recent water supply forecast, releases will be reduced to slow the evacuation rate of storage in Bighorn Lake and to more closely achieve our end of March target elevation of 3619.0 feet. It should be noted that the current lake elevation is already lower than 3,619ft, and that the March operating plan indicates an end of March target lake elevation of 3618.25 ft, and an end of April elevation of 3,612.5 ft. Nevertheless, on Monday, March 12 at 8am, flows will be reduced from 3,130cfs to 3,000cfs. -Doug