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Low Elevation Snowmelt Forces Increases In Discharges Downstream Minidoka,Milner Dams On Snake River
Posted on Friday, February 10, 2017 (PST)

Snake River flows below Minidoka and Milner dams near Heyburn, Idaho were increased Tuesday (Feb. 7) to accommodate high inflows from the surrounding areas because of increased low-elevation snowmelt from recent warm temperatures and rainfall.


The flow below Minidoka Dam was at 525 cubic feet per second (cfs); it was increased in four increments to ultimately reach a target outflow of 2,420 cfs by 5 pm. The flow below the Milner powerhouse was at 500 cfs; the discharges increased to approximately 1,500 cfs around noon Tuesday, to 2,500 cfs at about 3 pm, and to around 3,000 cfs at approximately 6 pm.


These increases in discharges are necessary because of increases in Snake River inflow from localized runoff from rapid snowmelt and to maintain stable reservoir pool elevations at both dams. When the river inflows begin to decrease later this week, the discharges from both dams also will be decreased.


Typical winter flows released from Minidoka Dam are approximately 520 cfs. The scheduled release Tuesday reaching 2,420 cfs is lower than the typical summer time irrigation season flow of 12,000 cfs.


Current river and reservoir data are available at


The dams, which are operated by the Bureau of Reclamation’s Upper Snake Field Office, are located on the Snake River in south central Idaho.


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