Recently, the Bureau of Reclamation identified pockets of scouring under the spillway, some as big as 4 feet across. They put out an emergency contract in order to fix the situation late this fall. In the meantime, no flows are allowed over the Morning Glory valve and instead, the AID will release flows through the dam anytime the lake level approaches the upper one foot of the Morning Glory. While “drier”, we are still seeing 3-4+ inches of rain at one end or another of the irrigation system and Snake River. Last night, Ainsworth received 4 inches of rain and the river flows are around 100 cfs again.
Importantly, if time, the flows will be raised in 50cfs increments over 6 hours. If deemed to be an emergency release, they will let out whatever necessary in that type of situation. As always, the member is reminded to be vigilant while on the river and keep your wits about you if the water rises. There is no emergency horn like that on Oahe Dam, for example. We are working with the AID to put updates on water releases here on the website. But, in an extreme rain event, that might not be sufficient.
I attached a photo of dam repairs on the spillway from 3 years ago done by AID. Usually, this is done in September-August and why releases back into the river occur later on October 15th. In 2017, the repairs were finished on October 14th.
The AID will be adding concrete to the the front face of the dam later this summer/early fall. This pavement repair happens every few years and requires the lake level to be low enough for application. This may, or may not affect releases into the river, depending on Mother Nature. More to come…