This week Bureau of Reclamation water managers increased water releases from Jackson Lake and Palisades dams.
The flows were increased to address anticipated spring runoff in the area. Monday, June 7, water flows from Jackson Lake Dam were increased from 8,000 cubic feet per second to 10,000 cfs. The Palisades Dam water released was increased from 10,000 cubic feet per second to 11,000 cfs.
Wednesday, June 9, water flows were increased again at Palisades Dam. Outflow from the dam was raised to 17,000 cfs.
“River levels are subject to change frequently at this time of year as we adjust of our storage throughout the Upper Snake River system,” said Chris Ketchum, Deputy Manager of the Snake River Area Office. “Flows from Palisades Dam have almost doubled since Friday June 4.”
According to the Bureau of Reclamation, river levels and dam outflows at both the Jackson Lake Dam and Palisades Dam are subject to change. Water managers will adjust the flows in anticipation of runoff levels.
“Water release rates are subject to change as water managers work to stay ahead of changing weather and reservoir conditions during flood control operations,” said David Walsh of the Bureau of Reclamation. “Jackson Lake Dam is over 98 percent full and taking in more than 16,000 cfs due to rainfall on melting snowpack conditions in the Upper Snake River basin.”
According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the soggy spring has left the high mountain areas saturated with moisture. And that moisture is now making its way downstream.
“The snowpack above Jackson Lake is showing more than 48 percent water saturation,” said Art Hill, hydrologist for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Snake River Area Office. “That means the rain that would normally get absorbed by the snow is now running off very quickly. We’re filling faster than expected.”
According to information provided by the Bureau of Reclamation, area residents along the Snake River drainage “should be alert for localized flooding.”
“At Palisades Dam the Snake River will approach bank full condition,” said Walsh. “At both Palisades and Jackson Lake dams, boaters, anglers and other river recreationists are advised to anticipate higher flows.”