Farmers and ranchers using the canals in several irrigation districts will benefit from the annual lowering of the water level in the Guernsey Reservoir beginning Tuesday, according to a prepared statement from the Wyoming Office of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The Bureau of Reclamation has a contract to provide silt-laden water to the Goshen, Gering-Fort Laramie and Pathfinder Irrigation Districts.

Silt-laden water enters irrigation canals, slows and the silt sinks to the bottom, which works as a temporary sealant to minimize seepage from the bottom and sides of the canals, according to the prepared statement.

The operation starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday when Reclamation decreases water flow from the upstream Glendo Reservoir from approximately 4,800 cubic feet per second to approximately 2,000 cfs.

The decreased flow will cause a rapid decline of the Guernsey Reservoir level by approximately 25 feet on July 6 through July 10. By July 9, the boat ramps at the reservoir will no longer be useable.

The water release will flow through Guernsey Reservoir, flushing silt into the canals of downstream irrigators. The silt run begins July 11 and is anticipated to continue through July 24.

That changes that evening.

Reclamation will rapidly increase the flow from Glendo Reservoir to refill Guernsey Reservoir.

Guernsey Reservoir's water level is expected to be suitable for boating again by July 27 and will to rise by approximately three feet per day until the reaching its normal level by July 30.

Guernsey Reservoir is the furthest downstream reservoir in the system of federal storage reservoirs on the main stem of the North Platte River.  During the irrigation season, water released from Guernsey Reservoir serves irrigation development in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska and produces hydropower.

Boaters, recreationists, and irrigators should prepare for changing river flows below the reservoirs and the rapid lowering and refilling of Guernsey Reservoir.

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