Green River Star -

By David Martin

Fontenelle releases increase

Increase to 8,500 cfs Weds.


More water is coming from the Fontenelle Dam as releases were increased to 8,500 cubic feet per second Wednesday.

Prior to the increase, releases from the dam amounted to 7,500 cfs. The increased flows started at 10 a.m., with an increase of 500 cfs. A second increase took place at 4 p.m. with another additional 500 cfs.

According to Jed Parker, an engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the flows were increased in anticipation of increased inflows to the Fontenelle Reservoir. Flows have increased throughout May, from 6,500 at the start of the month. Flows did increase at the beginning of the year as a result of increased snowfall throughout the winter. Releases from the dam topped at 5,500 cfs March 27, before decreasing in April.

According to data from the National Weather Service in Riverton, warm mountain temperatures Wednesday through Friday are expected to accelerate snowmelt, resulting in expected flooding along the smaller creeks and streams by the end of the week.

Minor flooding along main stem rivers is also expected by the weekend.

“The snowpack at 8,500 to 9,500 foot elevation is very ripe or water laden and is ready to melt off. There is still 30 to 35 inches of snow water equivalents (SWEs) at several SNOTEL locations at the 9,000 to 10,000 foot elevation across the Wind, Green, Shoshone, and Upper Yellowstone Basins,” the NWS hydrologic outlook states.

The Green River is one of the rivers expected to see minor flooding Saturday and Sunday. Brad Raney, director of the Parks and Recreation Department at the city said the boardwalk portion of the Greenbelt is already closed due to rising water. Raney said the department will evaluate if Edge Water Park will need to close after the dam increases its flows, but said 8,500 cfs running down stream isn’t something the city hasn’t dealt with before.

“This isn’t anything new,” he said.

According to the NWS, people living near flood-prone areas along creeks and rivers should make preparations for high water later in the week.

The NWS also recommends people not to cross rivers and streams during late afternoon and early evening as flows will be at their highest and the swift water could easily carry a person downstream.


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