FOBHL Board May 2011
Minutes of the April 2010 were approved by directors via email
The Lovell Visitor Center summer hours will be 8am to 5:30pm daily.
With the lowering of the lake levels to increase flood water storage BICA has issued a news release.
Bighorn Lake Horseshoe Bend Boat Ramp Update
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area would like to announce that all boat ramps are now open. The park is encouraging boaters to use caution when launching at Horseshoe Bend. The lake levels will be fluctuating due to increased run off and in turn increased outflow from the reservoir. The lake level is presently at 3617’ but is expected to drop as low as 3614’ in preparation for spring runoff.*
Although lake levels are higher, caution is still advised in side canyons as there may be submerged rocks, sandbars, and other hazards in these shallow areas. With spring inflows there can also be some areas where high concentrations of driftwood may be encountered.
For current lake conditions or help planning a visit, visitors may contact the Cal S. Taggart Bighorn Canyon Visitor Center at 307-548-5406, the Fort Smith Contact Station at 406-666-2452, or visit our website at www.nps.gov/bica .
Everyone is invited to come and enjoy Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.
*Lake level will likely go down to 3604' soon.
The Cody Home and Garden show in mid April was a success with over 3500 attending. Our FOBHL booth was able to inform many visitors about Bighorn Canyon, AIS issues and what the FOBHL organization is about. We thank all who helped in the booth!
On April 20 the annual Horseshoe Bend Area cleanup was held with over 40 local youth and their leaders giving service. Supt Jerry Case thanked the group for their generous donation of their time!
The end of April found the Bighorn Lake sediment subcommittee making an on site tour of the south lake to finalize recommendations about where to locate the sedimentation basins. Rick of GK Construction gave us a tour of a bentonite open pit mine and discussed how the sediment removed from the basins could be used in the reclamation phase of mining. Following the tour we met at the visitor center for a short wrap up discussion and a how to proceed now plan. The COR suggested we now need to set up a meeting with the MT USBR office and begin discussion on the process design of the sedimentation trap system. Jerry Case will contact them and get a meeting arranged soon.
Jerry Case, Jim Minchow and Bob C meet to develop a plan that would end up with fuel being available at the Horseshoe Bend Marina. The over all plan calls for a credit card pump system on land that can be run via the new high speed internet at HSBend. Boaters will need to trailer their boat and pull it up the ramp to refill, then back it back into the lake. The risk and cost to a concessionaire to have fuel on the water is not financially possible.
The first of May found our new billboard near the Rockvale, MT junction installed and inviting passer-byers to Bighorn Lake in Lovell 70 minutes away. Members let us know what you think? This location catchs all Bighorn Basin travelers plus a lot of recreators from Montana.
The first of May GK Construcion under contract with BICA cleaned the Kane Ramp. The plan is to clean it in the spring and fall giving south end river/lake access off of highway 14A east.
The conference calls with the USBR will go from monthly to biweekly to weekly in May. This keeps all stakeholder informed as to water operations. This year it is a wait and see as to when the run off begins. The key will be how HOT and for how long = rate of runoff. With every cool day the melt is delayed this increases the chance of more water coming off too fast. Inflows and outflows are yet to be determined by Mother Nature. Extreme high flows are very likely.....
The damaged ML ramp was the focus of a tour by the WGF, BICA and Bob C to determine the future of this ramp. With the pending high water it was decided to watch and see how it survives the summer then determine if repairs are in order. A new location was also discussed since the proposed sediment basins in the coming years would eliminate this location. The other location is about a mile south near the old gravel pit. Another topic addressed was the closed loop road on the ML dike because of an active Bald Eagle nest site. The nest tree fell over several years ago and the eagles now nest further south. Can the road be re opended is the question now to be answered?
The May water operations plans for Boysen and Buffalo Bill are now out. There will be high outflows to increase flood storage in preparation for the higher than average spring runoff. Mountain snow melt has not yet began due to cool weather this spring. The forecast calls for more cool temps and rain/wet snow for the rest of the month.
The FOBHL has experienced several web site outages this month. Our tech team is seriously working to resolve the issues that seem to keep reoccurring every few days???? There seems to be even a difference as to what browser is being used as to the problem experienced. Do any of you have suggestions as to what the problems may be caused by?
For the Triathlon this year there will be both adult and youth divisions. Check the website for the details of the two divisions. We desire to involve more youth in all areas at BICA. This is a NPS goal for all parks. We will have a simple web site just for the Triathlon available soon.
BICA and Bob C meet at the Horseshoe Bend Marina last week to discuss the location of the web cam and the American Flag for this site. With high speed internet coming out there soon we needed to finalize plans in order to get the work done for the upcoming season. FOBHL will help with the installation and setup of the web cam. You will be pleased at the features on the web cam like 170' horizontal panning and a 10X zoom feature! It will be a video type cam not still photos.
John Tubbs (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science) and Steve Doherty (Senior Advisor to the Secretary for the Pacific Northwest) are planning to be in Montana this week. During this time, they will visit Yellowtail Dam and the BCNRA (including the Afterbay facilities and Bighorn River). Reclamation and the National Park Service invite you to meet with Msgrs. Tubbs and Doherty for the purpose of sharing your perspectives on the BCNRA and Reclamation’s operations of Yellowtail Dam and Reservoir. The following time Tuesday, May 17 from 9:30 am to 11:00 am at the NPS Lovell Visitor Center. Following the meeting Jerry Case will take them by boat thru Bighorn Canyon from Horseshoe Bend to Ft Smith. Other meetings will be held on Wednesday at Ft Smith.
The low water is impacting the Horseshoe Bend Marina and the tour boats, which are presently operating from the Barry's Landing dock. It may be into early June before operations are as usual at Horseshoe Bend. The camping facilities are all open.
Directors please continue to prepare and take care of your assignments for the 2011 Bighorn Lake Celebration on July 9.