Flaming Gorge Dam to Increase Water Release to Help Razorback Sucker Larvae

Flaming Gorge Dam to Increase Water Release to Help Razorback Sucker Larvae

wildlife.utah.gov website photo

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) discovery of larval razorback suckers in Reach 2 of the Green River last weekend has prompted the agency to request the implementation of the Larval Trigger Study Plan (LTSP) to help the species survive.

The plan calls for increased water releases from the Flaming Gorge from May 2022 through April 2023 as outlined in the Flaming Gorge Operational Plan and the 2022 Drought Response Operations Plan.  

Razorback suckers were added to the endangered species list in 1991. After a larval study was completed in 2012, releases have occurred after larval razorback suckers are discovered.

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“This study implements controlled water releases from the Flaming Gorge Dam by the Bureau of Reclamation each spring — once U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists detect larval razorback suckers in the river, typically in May or June — and those high flow releases create the needed wetlands for the larval fish,” according to wildlife.utah.gov.

To meet LTSP flow targets, Flaming Gorge releases are scheduled to be increased to full power-plant capacity (~4,600 cfs) plus 2,000 cfs bypass totaling 6,600 cfs beginning Wednesday, May 25, a press release from the Bureau of Reclamation states. Also, Flaming Gorge releases are scheduled to be increased to full bypass capacity (+2,000 cfs, totaling ~8600 cfs) beginning May 26. Starting on June 2 a 2,000 cfs/day ramp down is also planned.

The average daily release on June 3 will be 4,600 cfs, on June 4 will be 2,600 cfs, and on June 5, will be 1,000 cfs, according to schedule below. On June 5, the daily average release will be 1,000 cfs and continue thereafter. Starting June 5, hourly release schedules issued by WAPA for power production may include daily fluctuations to meet power demand contracts, the release states.

The the release schedule below.

This data is considered the most likely scenario given the current forecast, is general, and is subject to changing conditions. Forecasted (tentative) hourly release schedules can be found by visiting the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center at this website