The Bureau of Reclamation increased flows in the Snake River below Palisades Dam last week. The increased flow was set to reach about 18,500 cubic feet per second by June 8.
Beginning Monday, June 9, flows started to be reduced by approximately five percent a day. According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the decrease will continue until “a seasonal norm of about 13,000 cfs is reached.”
“The objective of this operation is to disrupt non-native rainbow trout spawning to benefit native cutthroat trout,” said Michael Beus, Water Operations Manager for Reclamation’s Upper Snake Field Office. “A flow of 18,500 cfs below the dam will result in about 20,000 cfs at the Snake River near Heise gage, approximately 48 river miles downstream”
According to Beus, this operation provides the “highest flows of the season at about the same time natural snow melt peaks.”
“The river will be fast and cold during the high flow period,” he said. “Please use caution and be aware when recreating near the river.”
According to information provided by the Bureau of Reclamation, this operation was “first implemented following the completion of the 2004 Ecologically Based Systems Management report.”
“Since 2004, fish census work by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has validated the benefits of these operations,” said Beus.