Shared Sacrifice, Shared Success
The Big Hole River Drought Management Plan designates target river flow and temperature conditions for fish health in five river sections of the Big Hole River. The plan includes voluntary conservation targets for all water users, MFWP fishing restriction criteria, and information tools. Conservation actions are designed support the health of the fishery.
The plan outlines voluntary conservation actions and relies on Shared Sacrifice, Shared Success – if all users sacrifice, we can all be successful in protecting the fishery. The plan also designates MFWP fishing restrictions when drought conditions reach critical levels.
The BHWC DMP originated in 1997. The plan is reviewed annually by a committee made up of irrigators, fishermen, conservation groups, and agency representatives as well as the entire BHWC.
As of 11/16/2016:
Streamflows: Streamflow gages that are still reporting that flows are at or above their averages. Most gages are seasonal and have either stopped or will stop reporting flows.
Snowpack: At this time the Big Hole Basin is at 32% of average. The Jefferson Basin in its entirety is at 22% of average. Precipitation in September was 156% above normal and in October was 181% above normal however this has not eased the slow start to the snowpack this season.
Temperatures: Valley air temperatures for November as of the 16th have been well above normal with average highs 10 to 15 degrees F above average. A return to more seasonal temperatures is forecasted for the latter half of November.
Forecast: Weak La Nina conditions were observed in October across most of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean which is characterized by lower than normal ocean temperatures. Forecaster consensus favors a continuation of weak La Nina conditions through February 2017 and then a gradual return to neutral conditions through the spring. La Nina conditions are currently present and are slightly favored to continue through the winter (55% chance). During La Nina, seasonal outlooks typically favor below average temperatures and greater than average precipitation for Montana.
2016 USGS Gage Bill:
Water Temperature at Dickie Bridge, Maiden Rock, and Glen:
USGS Flow Gages for Upper Big Hole CCAA program:
The Wise River real-time gage was installed near the mouth of the Wise River October 2015. The Big Hole Watershed Committee sought installation in order to continue flow and temperature monitoring in the Wise River, as well provide information for Wise River irrigators. The gage reports flow, stage and water temperature in real-time via Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Surface Water website. The gage is part of the 2015 launch of DNRC & Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology real-time monitoring system for small streams, who installed and operates the gage. Funding was provided by Big Hole Watershed Committee, The Nature Conservancy, and Montana Trout Unlimited and is graciously hosted on the PKR Ranch. The Big Hole Watershed Committee in partnership with DNRC, MFWP, and Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology have been conducting monitoring of the Wise River surface and groundwater since 2011.