Drought Management Plan
Jefferson River Watershed Council

The Jefferson River Watershed Council (JRWC) developed a Drought Management Plan in 2000. It was modified in June 2004. Click on the link below to read the full text of the plan.

Jefferson River Watershed Council Drought Management Plan

The Drought Management Plan calls for action to be taken based on trigger points.  The trigger points are streamflow in the Jefferson River measured at the Twin Bridges gauge and temperature. Trigger points and actions are summarized below.

600 cfs
DNRC and FWP representatives will meet with the JRWC to present river flow data, snowpack data, and climatic forecasts.  Options will be formulated including voluntary reduction of irrigation and stock water uses, municipal water use, and angling pressure.  A phone tree and email will be used to advise water users, municipalities and outfitters to encourage conservation. Anglers and outfitters will be asked to voluntarily limit their activities to morning hours and to be aware of angler-caused fish mortality. A press release will be issued.
280 cfs
Weekly meetings between the JRWC and irrigators will begin. Voluntary conservation measures will be encouraged.  Outfitters will be advised of flow conditions. FWP will issue a press release informing the public of fishing closures and encouraging water conservation practices.

FWP will evaluate a mandatory fishing closure.  The closure may be ordered at flows other than 280 cfs to coordinate with Big Hole River fishing closures. Other factors that will be considered include: water temperature, observations of stress on fish, weather patterns and forecasts, and closures in adjacent or nearby waters. The river will remain closed to fishing until flows reach or exceed 300 cfs for 7 consecutive days.

73 Degrees F
If the maximum daily temperature exceeds 73 degrees F for 3 consecutive days, FWP may close the river to afternoon fishing.
The river will remain closed to fishing until flows reach or exceed 300 cfs for seven consecutive days at the Twin Bridges gauge.  The potential fishing closure may occur at slightly higher/lower flows than 280 cfs to coordinate with potential fishing closures associated with the upstream Big Hole River Drought Plan.

73 Degrees F:
Independent of stream flow level, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks can implement a mandatory time of day closure to prohibit angling throughout the Jefferson River between the hours of 12:00 p.m. (noon) to 12:00 a.m. (midnight) when maximum daily water temperature equals or exceeds 73 degrees F (23 degrees C) for three consecutive days.  Lifting of summer temperature restrictions will be conducted on September 15 unless an earlier/ later date is designated by the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission.

Twin Bridges
Current Conditions
Check current flows in the Jefferson River using the buttons below.