BLM to Conduct Controlled Release of Teton Reservoir


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Rawlins Field Office

Media Contact:

Paul Spillman

RAWLINS, Wyo. – After thorough review of structural concerns at the Teton Reservoir Dam, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Rawlins Field Office has decided to conduct a controlled release of excess water on Tuesday, May 30.  

Abundant snowmelt runoff has filled the reservoir to historic levels and threatened the dam’s stability. While the dam’s condition is considered severe, the dam has not failed. BLM engineers are coordinating with the State of Wyoming, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, local governments, and private landowners to minimize any impacts of the excess water to downstream communities. 

A controlled release offers the safest and most effective method for lowering dangerously high water levels. The controlled release will also prevent a dam failure, ensure the reservoir will maintain the capacity to accommodate future inflows, and reduce the chances of a flood causing property damage.  

DOWL Engineering and Jackola, Architects, Engineers, Surveyors & Land Planners will oversee the operation and advise the BLM as Youderian Construction executes the release. The operations will begin on Tuesday, May 30 and span three to five days. DOWL anticipates the controlled breach will be accomplished by excavating four separate trenches through the spillway and the dam embankment. The number and location of trenches will be adjusted as site conditions, reservoir inflow, and water surface elevation are monitored and evaluated. These trenches will lower the reservoir water level by approximately 14 feet to an estimated elevation of 7012 feet. BLM engineers and private contractors will remain onsite throughout the release to monitor and manage the operation. 

Until further notice, the public should stay a minimum of 500 yards away from the Teton Reservoir Dam and the section of Little Sage Creek that runs between the Teton Dam and the North Platte River.  

For more information, contact State Engineer Paul E.J. Spillman, P.E. at (307) 775-6313.  

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.