Flow in the Jefferson River has declined to 465 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the Twin Bridges USGS gauging station, triggering an alert to enlist voluntary contributions by water users and anglers to improve streamflow and reduce stress on the trout fishery. Ron Spoon, fisheries biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), also reports that the water temperature at the gauging station has exceeded the 73º F threshold requiring limitation of fishing to the cooler morning hours.
“Since the daily maximum water temperature at the gauging station has exceeded 73º F for three consecutive days, fishing along the entire length of the Jefferson River will be prohibited between 12 noon and midnight daily beginning at 12 noon on Monday July 25, 2005 until further notice,” Spoon said.
A 600 cfs trigger flow at Twin Bridges was incorporated in 2000 as part of the Jefferson River Watershed Council’s (JRWC) Drought Management Plan for the upper Jefferson River. If flows continue to decline and reach 280 cfs, that triggers weekly meetings with water users to coordinate water savings. In addition, further fishing restrictions would be considered by FWP to protect the river’s wild trout populations.
The Jefferson River Drought Plan is a voluntary effort in which agriculture, conservation groups, anglers, municipalities, businesses, and government agencies cooperate to moderate the effects of severe water shortages.
For more information on Jefferson River conditions, visit the JRWC web site at: www.JeffersonRiverWC.homestead.com. Go to the Drought Management page and scroll to the bottom to check the USGS gauge at Twin Bridges for real time flow conditions.