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Snowpack Drifts Lower in the Bitterroot Mountains

Lost Horse
Looking up Lost Horse Canyon of the Bitterroot Mountains. (KLYQ Photo)
The latest snow survey shows only 86 percent of average snowpack in the Bitterroot River drainage.

The monthly survey by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) showed the Bitterroot and the rest of Western Montana snowfields below average. The best was the Kootenai River drainage at 97 percent. Those and other snowcourses make up the Columbia River drainage, which on February 1 was 92 percent of average.

For the state of Montana, the snowpack is 96 percent, compared to 103 percent of median snowfall January 1st.

NRCS water supply specialist Brian Domonkos, in a news release, said, “Conditions were quite dry last month, allowing snowpack to make increases in only two basins, the Headwaters Mainstem near Helena and in the combined Smith-Judith-Musselshell.”

Agricultural and recreationists are looking at the figures in regard to streamflow. Currently, the estimated Bitterroot River streamflow is 88 percent of average for April 1 through July 31, lower than last year.

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