Volume 6, Number 10 - June 1, 2006
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Following confirmation by the U.S. Senate last week, Dirk Kempthorne became the 49th Secretary of the Department of the Interior.
“Throughout my public service, I have worked to reach out to both sides of the aisle, to different interests and to different viewpoints,” Kempthorne said. “As secretary, I want to help foster that same collaborative approach on interior issues.”
Secretary Kempthorne succeeds Gale Norton, who served as secretary from 2001 until her resignation on March 31. Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett had been acting secretary.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Upper Colorado Region increased releases from Flaming Gorge Dam at a rate of 800 cubic feet per second per hour to a total bypass release of 2,000 cfs for a period of one full-day last week. Total release volume from Flaming Gorge Dam will be approximately 6,600 cfs, using a combination of full powerplant capacity and bypass. In total, Reclamation hopes to achieve a flow of 18,600 cfs in the Green River below the confluence with the Yampa River at the stream gauge located near Jensen, Utah.
The spring matching flow releases are part of an annual release strategy developed by Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceand Western Area Power Administration to benefit endangered fish species located in the lower stretches of the Green River. The spring flow strategies, as described in the 2006 Flaming Gorge Record of Decision and the Final Environmental Impact Statement, call for specific flow regimes that are dependent on forecasted hydrologic conditions. This year, the hydrologic condition has been classified as ‘average’ and the flow objective chosen for this year is one of three possible flow regimes that could occur in average years.
While streamflows may be high, federal wildfire experts aren’t expecting a good year in the Rockies. The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center reported: “Above normal wildland fire activity is expectedin June over much of Colorado into southern Wyoming. Normal June wildland fire activity is expected across the remainder of the RMA, although towards the end of the month Wyoming may be approaching above normal large fire potential.
According to a RMACC report issued Friday: “A very dry and warm month of May resulted in a limited green-up and a significant reduction in dead fuel moisture leading into early June over the RMA, especially in Colorado. Additionally, with an expected dry and warm period forecast into early June over Colorado and southern Wyoming, anticipate above normal large fire potential in June across those areas. Normal June wildland fire activity is expected across the remainder of the RMA, although towards the end of the month Wyoming and the Black Hills of western South Dakota may be approaching above normal large fire potential.”
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