March 29, 2002 11:00 pm
FIELD TRIP: Mike Burton conducts the snow survey (Submitted Photo).
FIELD TRIP: Mike Burton conducts the snow survey (Submitted Photo).

By Alice Perry Linker

Observer Staff Writer

Late winter and early spring snows have maintained the snow level and water content in the mountains around the Grande Ronde Basin.

The final snow measurement reported Friday shows the water content in the high country snowpack at 113 percent of normal, among the lowest in the state.

The John Day Basins snow water percentage equals the Grande Ronde, and only the Umatilla Basin shows a lower percentage of snow water content: 99 percent of average.

Elsewhere in the state, the Klamath Basin, beleaguered by drought last summer, could see a banner year for water, as the snow water content is at 160 percent of normal. In Deschutes County, the snow water quantity is at 141 percent of average.

How well Northeast Oregon streams will fare during the dry summer months depends on the spring rainfall.

As long as we maintain a typical spring rainfall pattern and dont get any unusual runoff events, we should have normal stream flows this year, said Mike Burton, district conservationist with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The snow water in the mountains around the Grande Ronde Basin ranges from 133 percent at Beaver Creek Reservoir to 93 percent at County Line. The level at Wolf Creek is 121 percent and at Aneroid Lake 104 percent.

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