The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

Snake River Flows Secured, For Now

Built in the early 1900s by the Bureau of Reclamation to control lake levels for irrigation in Idaho and reduce flooding for a rising local population, Jackson Lake Dam drives water into the Snake River and its interconnected aquatic ecosystem.

The Snake River Headwaters provide critical habitat for one of the most resilient and intact cutthroat trout fisheries in the lower 48 and are a core economic driver for the regional economy, generating over $20M in fishing-based revenue annually.

The region, known for its iconic landscape, treasured public lands (including Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest) and incomparable outdoor recreation opportunities, experienced an above average snowfall this winter right on the heels of back-to-back drought years that nearly drained Jackson Lake dry.

This complex water management situation – high snowpack following several years of drought, left Jackson Lake the only reservoir with available space to store water for the upcoming irrigation season – caused the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to propose a reduction in flows from Jackson Lake Dam this spring. The reduction would have cut flows to 50 cfs, well below the 280  cfs minimum established by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

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