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Bureau of Reclamation to cut South Fork water flows

HEYBURN, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation is reducing flows from Palisades Reservoir beginning Wednesday. 

Flows on the South Fork of the Snake River will be decreased from 1200 cubic feet per second to 900 cfs through Saturday.

February forecasts predict spring runoff in the Upper Snake River basin at 92 percent of average. That is a slight decrease from the Jan. 1 forecast. If the runoff outlook continues to deteriorate, the bureau said its power generation capability at Palisades Dam could be limited by the middle to later part of the summer irrigation season. 

So far this winter, the BOR has been moving water downstream to American Falls for irrigation use next summer.  That has allowed Palisades to generate power at flows well below powerplant capacity, according to a news release. The reduction in flows now should preserve BOR's ability to produce power later in the summer after irrigation releases have once again dropped below powerplant capacity.

BOR worked with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to set a ramping schedule that meets fishery requirements in the South Fork of the Snake River.

"We will focus on continuing our productive partnership with the Idaho Department of Water Resources, irrigation managers, and others to wisely manage this critical resource as the region faces the potential for a dry summer," said BOR Upper Snake Field Manager Roland Springer.

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