Written by Herald-News
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Missouri River Basin Water Management Division reports runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, for the month of June was 8.3 million acre feet (MAF), 153 percent of normal. The 2014 runoff forecast is 33 MAF, 131 percent of normal. Average annual runoff is 25.2 MAF.
“June precipitation was generally above normal across much of the Missouri River Basin causing above normal runoff into the reservoirs. The exception was the below normal precipitation in western and central Montana that contributed to lower than expected runoff into Fort Peck Reservoir,” said Mike Swenson, team leader in the Missouri River Basin Water Management Office. “Repeated rains in the lower basin also increased tributary flows, below the system of reservoirs, resulting in lower releases from Gavins Point Dam.”
Dring June, releases from Gavins Point Dam were reduced to as low as 10,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). “Releases from Gavins Point were cut by 20,000 cfs to lessen flood risk downstream. Those reductions lowered peak river stages three to four feet in most areas,” explained Swenson. “Following the flood crest, releases have been gradually increased to 25,000 cfs to meet the navigation flow targets downstream, as the flood flows continue to recede.”
The melting of the mountain snowpack is nearly complete. In the reach above Fort Peck Dam, 6 percent of the normal peak snowpack remains, and in the reach from Fort Peck to Garrison dams 3 percent of the normal peak snowpack remains. View mountain snowpack graphic here: http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/reports/snow.pdf.
The total volume of water stored in the Mainstem Reservoir System is currently 60.5 MAF, occupying 4.4 MAF of the 16.3 MAF combined flood control storage zones. “The reservoirs remain well positioned to capture additional runoff should further reductions in releases become necessary,” stated Swenson.
The Missouri River Mainstem System Master Manual sets the navigation service level for the second half of the season and the season length based on the July 1 system storage. The July 1 storage check called for an increase in the service level for navigation flow support, as well as a full, eight-month season. “Flow support, which had been 3,000 cfs below full service from April to June, was increased to full service in July,” said Swenson. Flow targets for the second half of the season will now range from 31,000 cfs at Sioux City, Iowa, to 41,000 cfs at Kansas City, Mo. The increase in service level will provide a navigation channel 9 feet deep and 300 feet wide.
The Corps will continue to monitor basin conditions and fine tune the regulation of the reservoir system based on the most up-to-date information.
Fort Peck Dam releases averaged 8,900 cfs in June. Releases were cut from 9,000 to 7,000 cfs in early July. Releases will likely remain near 7,000 cfs in July, but may be adjusted to provide adequate irrigation support below Fort Peck. The reservoir ended June at elevation 2230.0 feet, up 1.7 feet. The reservoir is forecasted to rise less than 1 foot during July.
Gavins Point Dam releases averaged 22,800 cfs in June, ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 cfs. Releases will remain near the current rate of 25,000 cfs in early July, and will be adjusted, as necessary, to meet downstream flow targets as tributaries’ flows drop. The reservoir behind Gavins Point Dam ended June at elevation 1206.8 feet. The reservoir will remain near elevation 1206 feet during July.
Fort Randall Dam releases ranged from 2,000 to 27,000 cfs during June, averaging 19,000 cfs. Fort Randall releases will be adjusted during July, as necessary, to maintain the desired elevation at Gavins Point Dam. The reservoir ended June at elevation 1356.9 feet, up 1.6 feet during the month. The reservoir will remain near elevation 1357 feet during July.
Big Bend Dam releases averaged 18,200 cfs during the month of June. They are expected to average near 22,000 cfs this month. The reservoir will remain near its normal elevation of 1420 feet during July.
Oahe Dam releases averaged 19,300 cfs during the month of June. Releases are expected to average 21,000 cfs this month. The reservoir ended June at elevation 1612.4 feet, up 4.5 feet during the month. The reservoir is expected to rise approximately 2 feet during the month of July.
Garrison Dam releases averaged 29,700 cfs in June. Releases were reduced from 30,000 to 29,000 cfs in early July. Releases will be reduced to 28,000 cfs around mid-July. Garrison ended June at elevation 1845.2 feet, up 5.4 feet. It is expected to rise about two feet during July.
The forecasted reservoir releases and elevations discussed above are not definitive. Additional precipitation, lack of precipitation, or other circumstances could cause adjustments to the reservoir release rates.
The six mainstem power plants generated 752 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in June. Typical energy generation for the month of June is 843 million kWh. The power plants are projected to generate 9.3 billion kWh of electricity this year, compared to the normal of 10 billion kWh.
To view the detailed three-week release forecast for the mainstem dams, go to: http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/reports/twregfcast.pdf.
Written by Herald-News
The US Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Peck Project Office will be closing Flat Lake Recreation Area beginning Monday July 14, to accommodate paving of the Flat Lake Road.
This closure will take effect at 7 a.m., and include public access to the boat ramp, camping facilities, and Flat Lake Pond.
Public access to Fort Peck Lake within the dam area will remain available at the Fort Peck Marina and Duck Creek Recreation Area.
Written by Herald-News
Montana fisheries officials and major statewide angling groups signed an agreement recently aimed at curbing the spread of illegal fish introductions into state waters.
The agreement includes a pledge from angling groups for an additional cash reward of up to $3,250 for information leading to the conviction of persons responsible for an illegal fish introduction.
"Since the 1980s, more than 500 illegal introductions have occurred in Montana lakes, reservoirs, ponds and rivers," said Bruce Rich, chief of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' fisheries division in Helena.
"The outlaw dumping of fish has caused irreparable harm to Montana waters and ruined several existing fisheries,” he said.
Rich said the rewards offered by Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana, Invasive Species Action Network, Montana BASS Nation, Montana Pikemasters, Montana Trout Unlimited, Montana Wildlife Federation, Walleyes Forever of Montana, and Walleyes Unlimited of Montana are intended to supplement the cash reward of up to $1,000 made available by FWP's 1-800-TIP-MONT violation report hotline.
The combined TIP-MONT and angling groups' rewards mean that a caller could receive as much as $4,250 for information.
Outlaw fish introductions, commonly called "bucket biology," displace existing fish, resulting in a loss of fishing opportunity.
"It's expensive and often impossible to remove illegally introduced fish," Rich said. "And it's difficult to catch these law breakers after the fact. That's why FWP is honored to enter this partnership with anglers and angling groups—the people who have the most to lose."
One of the hot spots for illegal introductions is northwestern Montana. According to Mark Deleray, Region 1 fish manager in Kalispell, lakes in the Flathead Valley are of particular concern.
"We have seen illegal introductions of walleye, crappie and smallmouth bass in recent years," Deleray said. "We ask the public and people living on lakes to be especially observant of behavior that suggests someone is dumping fish."
In 1997, the Montana Legislature increased the fine for an illegal fish introduction to $5,000 and tacked on potential jail time. In 2011, lawmakers doubled the fine to $10,000.
Call 800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668) or visit fwp.mt.gov. Click "Enforcement," then click "TIP-MONT.”
Written by Jaimee Green
From tee-off to dinner, the Northeast Montana Health Services' Charitable Foundation annual benefit golf tournament was a success. The event took place on June 28 at the Wolf Point Airport Golf Club. The windy weather didn’t stop 18 four-person teams from participating in the day-long tournament. The annual competition helped to raise money for the NEMHS Emergency Medical Services Department.
"We are so appreciative of the support we receive from our community which enabled us to host another successful golf tournament. It assists us to reach both our mission and our annual goals for funding the added medical needs of NEMHS," said Rosie Kurokawa, foundation vice chairperson.
Nemont sponsored the complimentary menu that was offered throughout the day and 15 additional sponsors made it possible for the foundation to offer a variety of skilled hole prizes and games around the course for everyone’s enjoyment.
A game of chipping was held, in which golfers bought chances to hit their golf balls into a floating raft in the pond. Nine golfers were lucky enough to secure a ball into the raft for a chance to enter the final chip-off at the end of the tournament. The winner of the pool in the Pond Chipping Contest was Easton Copenhaver, who received a 47” LED TV.
In the last 2½ years, the foundation has raised a total of $65,000 to go towards the purchase of a 4D Ultrasound/Echocardiogram machine. Because of community donations received through events, memorials and sponsorships, the foundation has been able to fulfill their committed pledge in a short period of time.
Now, in 2014-2015, their focus is geared toward raising money for the EMS Department.
One needed item is Lifebook laptop computers situated in each ambulance. The laptops would be connected to vital monitors which would transmit essential health information in real-time to the emergency room providers via wi-fi capabilities. In doing so, the hospital personnel could observe and identify the patients cardiac and other system functions before they arrive through the ER door. The emergency room provider would be able to give the EMT’s further instructions for patient care while en route, and potentially, be able to contact a provider at a higher-level-of-care facility if air emergency flight is required. This will save critical time and ensure better outcomes for patients in life-threatening situations.
Two Stryker battery- powered cots are also needed to help ensure emergency personnel can lift patients safely. Risk of injury to the spine can be a recurrent issue for medical personnel. Battery packs allow the cot to be raised and lowered with a touch of a button. Patient care and safety can be better accomplished with a cot that can be powered to make each transition smooth in any weather situation or terrain.
Total cost for the two computers and two cots is close to $30,000. All proceeds from the golf tournament and other foundation events will go directly toward this purchase.
“A successful tournament such as this really helps us achieve our yearly goal,” said Beth Pickthorn, foundation executive director.
Overall winners of the tournament were:
First gross: Easton Copenhaver, Nolan Harris, Keith Higgins and T’Elle Evans.
First net: Walter Smith, Kurt Smith, Sam Smith and Jared Smith.
Second net: Brock Copenhaver, Lee Loendorf, Kelsey Haugo and Erin Fosland.
Third net: Jordan Smith, Roxann Smith, Judy Ogle and Arnie Bighorn.
Wildcard: Jay Kirk, Chris Dschaak, Mike Fox, Lawrence Zazzo.
Written by Herald-News
The Bushwackers, the Circle Rifle Club’s junior competition shooting team, traveled to Grand Island, Neb., to participate in the 4-H national shooting sports completion June 24-29.
They had qualified for this event with their placements at the state three position competition in Boze-man earlier in the year. Team members Chase Breitbach, Emily Richardson, HaYoon Rush and Tio Brody along with coach Perry Breitbach joined 43 other youths from across Montana at the match. Archery, pistol, black powder, shotgun and rifle teams were there from 34 states.
The first day of competition was Metallic Silhouette. This was the weakest event, and it proved to be even more challenging than anticipated. They finished 17 out of 18 teams.
The second day was CMP rim fire sporting class, another event they had never competed in. However in spite of that, they finished fourth winning ribbons and a place on the stage. They missed third-place medals by one point.
Breitbach finished 12th, Richardson and Brody finished in a 16th place tie and Rush placed 28th out of 77 shooters.
The third day was NRA three position. Brody finished in 10th place out of 77 shooters, which earned him a ribbon and a place on the stage. Richardson placed 12th, Breitbach 13th and Rush 22nd. The team won bronze medals for a third- place finish.
The shooting team also toured the Hornady bullet manufacturing factory.
The Bushwackers are sponsored by Ron and Denise Hinther, Russell and Paula Pederson, Forsyth Rifle and Pistol Club, Mike Gibbs, Trails End Rifle and Pistol Club, the McCone County 4-H Council and the Circle Rifle Club.