CASPER, Wyo. — The Bureau of Reclamation says that they have scheduled a series of fluctuating flows in the North Platte river, in Natrona County. They’re urging people near or on the river to take caution during these times.
“In response to a request from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, [Bureau of Rec has] scheduled a series of fluctuating flows in the North Platte River downstream of Gray Reef Dam,” an official statement says. “Fluctuating flows are scheduled to begin on March 28. The purpose of the fluctuations is to improve trout reproduction in the river. The Wyoming Game & Fish has requested flows for ten consecutive days.”
The public is urged to use caution during this period of rapid fluctuation of flows below Gray Reef Dam.
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March 24 – 25
Officials say that March 24 – 25, Gray Reef Reservoir will evacuate storage to facilitate inspection of the radial gates. Although river flows will remain at the current rate of 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) during this reservoir operation, some fine sediment will be introduced from Gray Reef Reservoir into the North Platte River.
“Following the gate inspection, Gray Reef Reservoir will be refilled to the normal operating level. Then flushing flows will be initiated to flush fine sediment from the spawning gravels in the river,” the statement said.
March 28 – April 6
On March 28, flows in the river below Gray Reef Dam will fluctuate from 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 4000 cfs according to the following schedule:
HOURS GRAY REEF OUTFLOWS (cfs)
- 00:01 to 01:00 a.m. 500
- 01:00 to 03:00 a.m. 2000
- 03:00 to 07:00 a.m. 4000
- 07:00 to 08:00 a.m. 3000
- 08:00 to 09:00 a.m. 2000
- 09:00 to 10:00 a.m. 1000
- 10:00 to midnight 500
This schedule will be repeated daily through April 6. After completing the flushing flow on April 6, the flows below Gray Reef Dam will return to 500 cfs.
The schedule may be modified depending on river ice conditions.
Officials go on to explain that the flushing flows are expected to clean the spawning gravels of fine sediment which has accumulated over the winter. The fluctuations in the river flow will be achieved without loss of power generation and the water released from Alcova Reservoir will be restored downstream in Glendo Reservoir.