Reclamation Provides Snowmelt Runoff Estimates at Yonts Conference

Mountainous terrain covered in snow
Old Main Peak range covered in snow. (Photo by Gary Stone)

Reclamation Provides Snowmelt Runoff Estimates at Yonts Conference

The 2024 Yonts Water Conference was held on April 10 at the Panhandle Research, Extension, and Education Center in Scottsbluff. It is named in honor of Dean Yonts, who was the center's irrigation specialist for many years.

Welcome news at the conference included the snowpack/snowmelt runoff estimates delivered by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Mills, Wyoming, for the upper North Platte River basin. The forecasted runoff above Seminoe Reservoir is currently 800,000 acre-feet. The forecasted total supply for all reservoirs on the North Platte River System is forecasted to be 1,757,885 acre-feet.

Reservoir level graph
Figure 1. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation TEACUP image of the North Platte River reservoir levels, inflows, and outflows along the North Platte River in Wyoming for April 15, 2024.
Snow water equivalency chart
Figure 2. USDA NRCS Wyoming SNOTEL snow water equivalent percent of normal: The Upper North Platte River basin is at 98%, the Lower North Platte River basin is at 85%, the Sweetwater River Basin is at 96%, and the Laramie River basin is at 103%. Heavy snow was expected in the higher elevations of the Snowy Range and Sierra Madre mountain ranges the week of April 15.

No water allocations are expected for the 2024 growing season, in part due to carryover from the 2023 season. The North Platte project (Pathfinder and Gurnsey reservoirs) had a carryover of 591,325 acre-feet. The Kendrick project (Seminoe and Alcova) had a carryover of 917,557 acre-feet. Glendo reservoir (irrigation) had a carryover of 83,387 acre-feet.

As of April 15, 2024, Seminoe Reservoir is at 63% capacity or 645,073 acre-feet. Pathfinder reservoir is at 67% capacity or 718,953 acre-feet. Glendo reservoir is at 83% capacity or 410,108 acre-feet.

Online Master of Science in Agronomy

With a focus on industry applications and research, the online program is designed with maximum flexibility for today's working professionals.

A field of corn.