Bureau of Reclamation Flaming Gorge Update

Flaming Gorge Reservoir (UT & WY)

Photo Credit: Bureau of Reclamation

by Bureau of Reclamation

ast Updated: May 23, 2022

* * Update * *

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) identified larval razorback suckers in Reach 2 of the Green River on May 21st and 22nd, 2022. With the presence of larval razorback suckers, FWS requested the implementation of the Larval Trigger Study Plan releases as identified in the May 2022 through April 2023 Flaming gorge Operational Plan and the 2022 Drought Response Operations Plan. To meet LTSP flow targets, Flaming Gorge releases are scheduled to be increased to full powerplant capacity (~4,600 cfs) plus 2,000 cfs bypass totaling 6,600 cfs on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Releases will continue to increase to full bypass capacity (+2,000 cfs, totaling 8,600 cfs) on May 26, 2022. Releases will remain at 8,600 cfs till June 2 when a 2,000 cfs/day ramp down is implemented. Starting June 5, 2022 the average daily release of 1,000 cfs is scheduled to continue thereafter until a new notification is sent. Hourly release schedules issued by WAPA for power production may include daily fluctuations to meet power demand contracts. Reclamation works closely with the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center (CRBFC). Concerning outflow/releases, Reclamation provides the most likely releases to the CBRFC, see link  https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/station/flowplot/flowplot.cgi?GRNU1. Please note that reservoir operations are subject to change based on future observed inflows and forecasts.

This increase in releases is made pursuant to the 2022 Plan which has been approved by the Upper Division States, the Upper Colorado River Commission, and the Department of the Interior. The plan can be found at the following website:  2022 Plan. Under this plan, an additional 500 thousand acre-feet (kaf) will be delivered from Flaming Gorge Reservoir over the next 12 months (May 2022 through April 2023) to Lake Powell. This volume will be added to the spring periods by increasing the Larval Trigger Study Plan (LTSP) releases to 8600 cfs for 7 days, a 3-day smallmouth bass flow spike (mid-late June, possibly earlier), as well as the summer-winter base flow period, increasing base flow average daily releases to about 1,600 cfs.

The smallmouth bass flow spike will begin shortly after Green and Yampa River temperatures reach and begin to exceed 16 degrees C (about 60 deg F). Occurrence of 16 degree C water usually happens earlier in dry years and later in wet years. In 2021, a dry year, these conditions occurred in early June which was followed by a flow spike beginning on June 21. Base flows will begin shortly after appearance of Colorado pikeminnow larvae, which on average occurs on July 4 (range June 20 in dry years through July 24 in wet years).

As of May 5, 2022, Flaming Gorge Reservoir pool elevation is 6018.85 feet, which amounts to 78 percent of live storage capacity. Unregulated inflow volume for the month of April is approximately 66,000 acre-feet (af), which is 52 percent of the average April unregulated inflow volume.
The May forecast for unregulated inflows into Flaming Gorge for the next three months projects below average conditions. May, July, and July forecasted unregulated inflow volumes amount to 105,000 af (42 percent of average), 260,000 af (67 percent of average), and 119,000 af (59 percent of average), respectively.

The May water supply forecast of the April through July unregulated inflow volume into Flaming Gorge Reservoir is 550,000 acre-feet (57% of average), a moderately dry hydrologic classification.

To view the most current reservoir elevation, content, inflow and release, click on: Flaming Gorge Reservoir Data.

Working Group Meetings

The Flaming Gorge Working Group is an open public forum for information exchange between Reclamation and the stakeholders of Flaming Gorge Dam. The public is encouraged to attend and comment on the operations and plans presented by Reclamation at these meetings. Meeting notes from past Working Group meetings are posted on the Working Group webpage. For more information on this group and these meetings please contact Dale Hamilton at 801-379-1186.

Reclamation is planning to hold the next Flaming Gorge Working Group meeting on August 25, 2022 at 10:00 am MDT (tentative) in Vernal, Utah (tentative).

Past working group meeting summaries can be accessed on the Working Group pages.


Please contact the Operations Group via e-mail at ResourceMgr@usbr.gov for additional information.

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