The latest update on the Norfork
I have a few updates on the Norfork Tailwater for you all. As I mentioned in my previous e-mail, the AGFC has been working with the COE to address the temperature issues on Norfork that were resulting from the use of spillway gates to meet minimum flow. The AGFC sent a formal letter to the COE last week requesting that they come up with an alternative way of meeting their minimum flow requirements.
As of yesterday (June 4th), we had not received any confirmation that the COE would be ceasing releases from the spillway. Therefore, the other trout program biologist and I floated the river to once again check temperatures. Upstream of Quarry Park, temperatures continue to be 69.3-72.3 F. At the Quarry Park ramp (at the USGS gauge) the temperature was 55.2 F-again, the input from Dry Run Creek continues to provide some cold-water relief. However, from Gene’s Trout Dock, which is not too far below Quarry Park, to the Bridge at the confluence of the Norfork and White Rivers, we took 16 temperature readings. Those temperatures ranged from 66 F to 69.4 F. We also drove upstream from the confluence on the White River ~1/4 mile (for comparison’s sake) and measured the temperature to be ~57.6 F. At the boat ramp at the confluence, the temperature was ~67F. Obviously, the entire length of Norfork Tailwater was being affected by the warm-water releases. We reported these findings to the COE yesterday afternoon.
Now for the good news… I received word from the COE a few minutes ago that the spillway gates were closed at 9:30 AM today. The COE has been working with SWPA to come up with an alternative solution to meeting their minimum flow requirements. Basically, they are attempting to release a small load of water (~100 cfs) through the turbine that is as close to the amount of flow necessary for minimum flow. They started this process yesterday morning when we were out checking temperatures. The COE emphasized the fact that this is not a long-term solution; however, it can hopefully be used until the siphon repairs are complete. We’re all crossing our fingers that the repairs will be complete sometime in the next several days. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the temperatures and determine whether the alternative is providing any relief to the warm temperatures.
I’ll keep you all posted on the repairs and when they are complete. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Trout Management Biologist
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | P: (870) 424-5924 | M: (870) 404-0477