Stating that streamflow data indicates releases are higher than anticipated (meaning algae has left the system and is not displacing as much water), Reclamation has decided not to adjust flows downward because of the above normal rate of snow accumulation in the Bighorn River basin. As a result, flows have been slowly increasing over that last few weeks to 2,570cfs, and Reclamation has decided to leave those flows at that level. The Bureau did not consult nor notify stakeholders or FWP of this change.
It is worth noting that the lake elevation is 3,627.8 feet and rising. This elevation is slightly above last year’s elevation (a much drier year) and 15 feet above average for this day but only 3 feet above the elevation called for by the operating criteria and rule curves.
[Update: Reclamation did attempt to make contact with FWP regarding this water order change but that attempt failed. Manager Steve Davies has indicated the Bureau will look at better ways to handle situations when attempts to contact FWP fail. A big thanks to Steve for his call and most helpful explanation. -DH]