Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, access road reopen after river levels drop

Thursday , April 13, 2017 - 10:49 AM

MAKENZIE KOCH/Standard-Examiner Staff

BRIGHAM CITY — The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is back open after it closed for two weeks due to safety concerns.

The refuge closed March 27 due to “unsafe conditions” and excess water in the Bear River, according to a statement from refuge officials. West Forest Street, which is about 2 miles west of Interstate 15 and provides access to the refuge, was also closed. 

RELATED: Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge closes due to high water levels in Bear River

National Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney said the high levels were partly the result of water being released from Newton, Hyrum and Porcupine reservoirs. In an attempt to maintain the reservoirs’ levels through rainfall and snowmelt, they’re releasing water that then runs into the Bear River.

That, combined with high amounts of rain and snowmelt, caused Bear River to be higher than normal, McInerney said. 

But thanks to lower water levels, the refuge and West Forest Street reopened Monday, April 10. The Auto Tour Loop has also reopened, but officials are still urging caution. 

“Receding waters and recent cool temperatures have caused water levels to drop nearly a foot. However, we urge visitors to use caution when traveling refuge roads,” refuge manager Bob Barrett said.

Road conditions will continue to be monitored to ensure visitor safety, he said. 

Contact digital producer Makenzie Koch at mkoch@standard.net, follow her on Twitter at @makenzie_koch or like her on Facebook.com/MakenzieKochSE

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