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Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Report

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The hydrology of the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park is partly determined by releases from Jackson Lake Dam. The dam was first built in 1908 and became part of the National Park system GTNP was expanded to include most of Jackson Hole. Completion of the present structure of Jackson Lake Dam occurred in 191 7 and resulted in an increase above the natural level of Jackson Lake of 11.9 m. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) manages the dam and sets discharge schedules, primarily to meet agricultural needs, and to a lesser extent the needs of recreational river use. Major changes to the hydrological regime of the Snake River include lower than natural peak releases, decrease in frequency of extreme flood events, and unusually high flows from July to September. In addition, peak releases prior to 1957 were not synchronized with spring runoff but shifted to July or early August. Changes in inundation frequencies of floodplains, inundation duration and timing of peak flows have profound effects on the extent and composition of the riparian zone.