Archive for the 'Platte River' Category

May 06 2013

WY: Priority administration lifted on North Platte

Published by under Platte River,Wyoming

Wyoming State Engineer Patrick T. Tyrrell has confirmed that priority administration for all federal reservoir storage in the North Platte River Drainage has been lifted, effective midnight April 30, 2013.

The priority call for these U.S. Bureau of Reclamation mainstem reservoirs was put into effect on February 6, 2013 to allow for the filling of the reservoirs during the period of below average snowpack and low forecasted supply, as provided by the Modified North Platte Decree dated 2001.

The priority administration primarily affected municipalities and industries located above Guernsey Reservoir with water rights junior to December 6, 1904. To supplement supplies for municipal customers, six municipalities purchased water from the Pathfinder Modification Project municipal account, which was recently completed to provide additional water for municipalities during a time of water storage.

Based on the May 2013 forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the expected inflow through July combined with the current available water in Pathfinder and Guernsey Reservoirs is forecasted at 796,073 acre-feet. This forecast remains below the 1,100,000 acre-feet demand for irrigation water served by the federal reservoirs within the North Platte River system, although no further administration for those federal reservoirs is occurring.

“The snows in late April provided a bit of rescue from the bleak runoff outlook, and it was a welcomed event,” adds Patrick T. Tyrrell, Wyoming State Engineer. Snowpack levels throughout the North Platte River increased in the month of April, but true testament of the anticipated runoff is with the snow-to-water equivalent (SWE). The SWE percentages range from 75% to 130% throughout the basin, based on the most recent manual snow surveys conducted jointly with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the State Engineer’s Office.

While the call to fill the federal reservoirs on the North Platte River has lifted, the State Engineer’s Office will likely receive further calls for the normal intrastate priority administration of water rights during the irrigation season, which will also be the case in much of the state of Wyoming.

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Mar 04 2013

WY/NE: North Platte runoff below average

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Wyoming Area Office has prepared snowmelt runoff forecasts for the North Platte River Basin. According to Wyoming Area Manager Coleman Smith, the Mar. 1 forecast indicates below average spring snowmelt runoff for the North Platte Basin.

April through July runoff in the North Platte Basin above Glendo Dam is expected to be 300,000 acre feet (AF) or 32 percent of the 30-year-average of 944,600 AF. Approximately 260,000 AF of runoff (35 percent of average) is expected to enter Seminoe Reservoir with an additional 20,000 AF (34 percent of average) being provided to Pathfinder Reservoir from the Sweetwater River, and the balance of 20,000 AF (15 percent of average) coming from the basin between Pathfinder Reservoir and Glendo Reservoir.

The water in storage for delivery to North Platte Project contractors as of Feb. 28, is 254,600 AF or 41 percent of average.

Smith said, “Reclamation is advising North Platte Project water users that an allocation is expected. With reservoir storage well below average and below average inflow forecasted for April through July, water users will need to take measures to conserve the available water supply.”

With the current forecast, river flows throughout the system are expected to be much less than average and below last year’s flows. Reclamation will update the inflow forecasts again in April and May.

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Apr 13 2011

NE: Platte planning meeting set

The Wyoming Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation in Mills, Wyoming, scheduled a North Platte River Water Operations Public Information meeting in Casper, Wyoming, according to John H. Lawson, Wyoming Area Manager.

Due to the well above average forecasted runoff and high reservoir storage of 136% of average for the system, releases from Glendo Reservoir were initiated on February 22, 2011 and releases from Guernsey Reservoir were initiated on Feb. 28, 2011. Glendo and Guernsey Reservoir releases are currently 4,200 cubic feet per second (cfs). The releases from Gray Reef Reservoir were increased from 500 cfs beginning in early March and are currently 4,500 cfs. The flow of the North Platte River through Casper is currently approximately 4,670 cfs as reported by the Casper river gage.

The 2011 forecasted April through July inflow above Seminoe Reservoir is about 200,000 acre-feet more than last year’s actual April through July Seminoe inflow of 1,241,900 acre-feet. Releases as high as 7,000 cfs were required from Gray Reef Reservoir last year, resulting in peak flows through Casper of approximately 7,200 cfs. Although early releases are being made to avoid releases as high as last year or higher through Casper, the potential of higher flows this year exists depending on snow pack and precipitation conditions over the next 45 days.

The exclusive flood control space at Glendo Reservoir was utilized under the direction of the Corps of Engineers last year to provide relief to communities along the river in Eastern Wyoming and Western Nebraska. This was necessary due to increased river flows from rainfall events and high inflows from the Laramie River of nearly 5,000 cfs. Glendo Reservoir reached a content of approximately 720,000 acre feet (4648.83 feet), impacting recreation at Glendo State Park in June and July. The current planned operations show utilization of the Glendo flood control space, but to a lesser extent compared to last year. However impacts to Glendo Reservoir may exceed those of last year depending upon rainfall events and inflows from the Laramie River.

The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, at the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, 2211 King Blvd, Casper, Wyoming. The meeting is being held to apprise the public of reservoir storage, river operations, and current water supply conditions. Information regarding snowmelt runoff and expected reservoir operations for water year 2011 will be presented.

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Mar 23 2011

NE: High water along the Platte

Published by under Nebraska,Platte River

High water conditions are occurring along the North Platte River in
Nebraska and conditions are expected to continue to intensify throughout the spring, according to Brian Dunnigan, Director of the Department of Natural Resources, and Al Berndt, Assistant Director of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation indicates there is limited storage space in the Wyoming reservoirs along the North Platte River and its tributaries to capture all of the expected snowmelt runoff from the mountains in Colorado and Wyoming. The Natural Resources Conservation Service is reporting snowpack in the Upper North
Platte area at 134% of average (with some areas having as much as 182% of average) and in the Lower North Platte area (including Sweetwater and Laramie rivers) at 114% of average.

The total conservation storage capacity of the Wyoming reservoirs is 2,787,800 acrefeet of water. At the end of February, the reservoirs were near their maximum capacity with 2,258,801 acre-feet of water. The estimated snowmelt runoff potential in the North Platte system above the lowest reservoir is approximately 1,475,000 acre-feet. In response, the Bureau of Reclamation began releasing storage water downstream in early March to make room in the Wyoming reservoirs for expected spring runoff.

In Nebraska, Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, the owners and operators of Lake McConaughy, are currently bypassing some inflows and are also storing some water in Lake McConaughy. CNPPID may request a temporary variance from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to allow an increase in the amount of water that can be stored in Lake McConaughy to help alleviate flooding downstream.

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May 14 2008

CO/NE: Platte legislation signed

The President on May 8 signed into law legislation to implement the federal share of the Platte River recovery implementation plan as part of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (S. 2739). The sponsors of the legislation, United States Senators Ben Nelson, Wayne Allard, Ken Salazar and Chuck Hagel, applauded this final step ensuring the future vitality of the Platte River region.

In late 2006 the Governors of Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming and the Department of Interior signed the final program agreement after working together since 1997 to develop a recovery plan that benefits certain species yet allows continued water use and development along the Platte.

S. 752 – passed out of the committee as HR 1462 – will authorize the Secretary of Interior to proceed with the program and includes $157 million to carry it out. The cost will be shared 50/50 by the states and federal government. Through the program the states will provide benefits for the endangered and threatened species as well as land, water, and scientific monitoring and research to evaluate benefits of the program.

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Apr 12 2008

Platte River recovery plan passed

Published by under Nebraska,Platte River

The Senate on April 10 passed legislation to implement
the federal share of the Platte River recovery
implementation plan as part of the Consolidated Natural
Resources Act of 2008 (S. 2739). The sponsors of the
legislation, United States Senators Ben Nelson, Wayne
Allard, Ken Salazar and Chuck Hagel, applauded the
bipartisan support for Senate passage of the bill.
In late 2006 the Governors of Nebraska, Colorado, and
Wyoming and the Department of Interior signed the final
program agreement after working together since 1997 to
develop a recovery plan that benefits certain species yet
allows continued water use and development along the
Platte.
S. 752 – passed out of the committee as HR 1462 – will
authorize the Secretary of Interior to proceed with the
program and includes $157 million to carry it out. The cost
will be shared 50/50 by the states and federal government.
Through the program the states will provide benefits for the
endangered and threatened species as well as land, water,
and scientific monitoring and research to evaluate benefits
of the program.
U.S. Senator Wayne Allard: http://allard.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Home

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Feb 02 2008

NE/WY/CO: Platte legislation moves

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday approved legislation to implement the federal share of the Platte River recovery implementation plan. The sponsors of the legislation, United States Senators Ben Nelson, Wayne Allard, Ken Salazar and Chuck Hagel, applauded the committee’s action as a major step towards final passage of the bill.
“The Platte River recovery is absolutely critical to improving and maintaining habitat for threatened and endangered species while allowing water use and development along the Platte River. Our legislation will ensure that this plan is able to be fully implemented and we are pushing the Senate to act on it as soon as possible,” said Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson. “With the Committee’s unanimous action, the road is clear for Senate passage of this bill.”
“When a program is developed that protects water users’ rights and creates wildlife habitat protection it is a win-win for every one involved. The Platte River recovery plan does just that,” said Senator Salazar, a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “The program allows continued water use and development along the Platte that is critical to our farmers, ranchers and local communities and I am proud to support this sound conservation bill.”
“This legislation aims to address one of the most pressing needs in the West, ensuring that the Endangered Species Act does not stop our most precious natural resource from flowing,” said Senator Allard. “I have been an outspoken critic of the Endangered Species Act, but when I see a program designed to work with people to find real solutions I support it. This program is a good step forward in recovering endangered species and still providing the necessary water to meet the demands we face in the Platte River region.”
In late 2006 the Governors of Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming and the Department of Interior signed the final program agreement after working together since 1997 to develop a recovery plan that benefits certain species yet allows continued water use and development along the Platte.
S. 752 – passed out of the committee as HR 1462 – will authorize the Secretary of Interior to proceed with the program and includes $157 million to carry it out. The cost will be shared 50/50 by the states and federal government. Through the program the states will provide benefits for the endangered and threatened species as well as land, water, and scientific monitoring and research to evaluate benefits of the program.
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, January 31. Contact:?Julie Edwards?202-224-5765

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Oct 23 2007

NE/CO: Platte legislation clears

The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 1462, which will fund a recovery program for threatened and endangered species that have significant habitat along the Platte River in Nebraska.
The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program and Pathfinder Modification Authorization Act was sponsored by Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo. Similar legislation, S. 752, sponsored by Sens. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., Ken Salazar, D-Colo., Ben Nelson, D-Neb. and Charles Hagel, R-Neb., is pending in the U.S. Senate.
The legislation would authorize a 13-year recovery program for threatened and endangered species that have a designated habitat in Nebraska. The species include the whooping crane, the least tern, the piping plover, and the pallid sturgeon.
Under the recovery program, land will be obtained and managed to create additional habitat for the affected species and time water releases to meet their needs. Using adaptive management techniques, the program’s effectiveness in species recovery will be evaluated and fine tuned.
On October 10, the House Natural Resources Committee unanimously passed Udall’s proposal.
The recovery proposal is the outcome of over a decade of negotiations between Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming support the legislation along with multiple water users and several environmental organizations.
The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, Water and Power Subcommittee held a hearing on S. 752 on April 25, but there has been no further advancement of the legislation on the Senate since the hearing in the spring of 2007.
October 23; Ted Kowalski Phone: (303) 866-3978

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