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USDA NRCS releases water supply outlook for the month of March

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

On March 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released the March 2023 Wyoming Basin and Water Supply Outlook Report, 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.

Snowpack and precipitation

As of March 1, snow water equivalent (SWE) across Wyoming was 117 percent of median. 

The Little Snake River Basin reported the highest SWE in the state at 148 percent of median, while the South Platte River Basin had the lowest SWE at 95 percent of median.

The Belle Fourche River Basin saw the highest amount of precipitation over the last month, with numbers reporting 147 percent of median, and the Upper Green River Basin saw the lowest precipitation amount at 92 percent of median.


For April through September, USDA NRCS forecasts streamflow yields from all basins in Wyoming – except the Green River, Little Snake River and Cheyenne River basins – at 118 percent of median. 

For these three exceptions, median streamflow yields are predicted to average 119 percent of median for April through July. 

According to USDA NRCS, streamflow yields for individual basins across Wyoming include the Green River Basin at 94 percent of median, the Shoshone River Basin at 97 percent of median and the Little Snake River Basin at 99 percent of median.

The Tongue River, Yellowstone River, Cheyenne River and Big Horn River basins are forecast to yield 103 percent, 105 percent, 107 percent and 109 percent of median, respectively. 

Yields from the Powder River and Laramie River basins are both expected to be 111 percent of median, and yields from the Wind River Basin should be around 112 percent of median.

Additionally, USDA NRCS predicts median streamflow yields for the Upper North Platte River, Lower North Platte River, Sweetwater River and Little Snake River basins should be 138 percent, 141 percent, 147 percent and 181 percent, respectively.

Reservoir storage

USDA NRCS further notes reservoir storage across the entire state of Wyoming was at 88 percent of median. 

Reservoirs reporting numbers far below median include the Little Snake River at 31 percent, the Upper North Platte River at 69 percent, the Cheyenne River at 78 percent and the Lower Green River at 79 percent. 

Reservoirs on the Big Horn River are slightly below median at 95 percent.

The Lower North Platte River, Wind River and Buffalo Bill reservoirs were near median with 94 percent, 98 percent and 105 percent, respectively. 

Both the Belle Fourche River and Upper Green River were at 100 percent of median, and the Tongue River Reservoir reported numbers at 112 percent of median.

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

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