Western Montana Streamflows Predicted To Be Good
With near record precipitation (about 164 percent of average) in April, the snowpack and the resulting streamflow for the the rest of the year is near average, especially for the Bitterroot and Clark Fork Rivers in our area. The latest report from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service showed May 1st snowpack in the Bitterroot drainage at 111 percent of average and the Clark Fork reporting about 106 percent of average. Streamflow forecasts for May through July, important for irrigators and fisherpeople alike, were 97 percent of average for the Bitterroot and the Upper Clark Fork at 108 percent of average with the Lower Clark Fork at 92 percent.
However, the Beaverhead River is showing less water available with below normal steamflow this summer, according to Lucas Zukiewicz of NRCS. He also noted that northern Montana rivers have been in "deficit" levels since last year and may continue to have lower streamflow this year. Zukiewicz cautioned the public that the weather in May and June usually brings more precipitation, and if that doesn't happen it could affect the stream forecast throughout Montana. More information is available at the nrsc website.