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USDA NRCS releases water supply outlook for February

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) published the February 2023 Wyoming Basin and Water Supply Outlook Report on Feb. 1, which analyzes snowpack, precipitation, streamflow and reservoir storage across the state of Wyoming. 

The report assesses the water supply outlook for the entire state of Wyoming as well as individual basins including the Snake River, Madison Headwaters, Yellowstone River, Wind River, Big Horn River, Shoshone River, Powder River, Tongue River, Belle Fourche River, Cheyenne River, Upper North Platte River, Lower North Platte River, Laramie River, Sweetwater River, South Platte River, Little Snake River, Upper Green River, Lower Green River and Upper Bear River basins.

and precipitation

According NRCS, as of Feb. 1, snow water equivalent (SWE) across the state was at 121 percent of median. The Sweetwater River Basin had the highest SWE at 157 percent of median, and the Shoshone River Basin had the lowest SWE at 94 percent of median. 

The report also notes the Lower North Platte River Basin saw the highest precipitation for the month of February at 257 percent of median, while the Yellowstone River Headwaters had the lowest precipitation amount in the state at 57 percent of median. 


NRCS forecasts streamflow yields for April through September across Wyoming basins – excluding streamflow in the Upper and Lower Green, Little Snake and Cheyenne basins – to average 114 percent of median. For these three exclusions, NRCS forecasts median streamflow yields to average 120 percent from April through July.

The report shows streamflow yields for the Snake River, Yellowstone River, Wind River, Big Horn River and Shoshone River basins to be 101 percent, 102 percent, 118 percent, 111 percent and 97 percent of median, respectively. 

Yields from the Powder River, Tongue River, Cheyenne River, Little Snake River and Green River basins are forecast by NRCS to be about 109 percent, 103 percent, 107 percent, 176 percent and 107 percent of median, respectively.  

Additionally, NRCS notes streamflow yields for the Sweetwater River, Upper North Platte River, Lower North Platte River and Laramie River basins to come in around 151 percent, 139 percent, 129 percent and 125 percent of median, respectively.

Reservoir storage

When it comes to reservoir storage, NRCS reports the average reservoir storage across the state of Wyoming at 81 percent of median.

Reservoirs in the Snake River Basin saw numbers far below the median at 30 percent. 

The Cheyenne River, Upper North Platte River and Lower Green River reservoirs also reported numbers below median at 80 percent, 69 percent and 80 percent, respectively. 

Two reservoirs reported numbers slightly below median as well – the Big Horn River Reservoir at 96 percent and the Upper Green River Reservoir at 95 percent. 

Reservoirs near median include the Wind River at 100 percent, the Buffalo Bill Reservoir on the Shoshone River at 104 percent, the Tongue River at 111 percent, the Belle Fourche River at 97 percent and the Lower North Platte River at 95 percent.

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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