Dewatering events are becoming more prevalent in the Lolo Watershed as drought conditions worsen. In the past ten years, there have been five events where Lolo Creek has become nearly completely dry.
Even with water being released by local irrigators, the lower portion of Lolo Creek is still dry. These photos were taken on September 19th, 2012.
What you can do:
Rivers at this time of the year are at base flow meaning that the water in the channel is coming only from groundwater. Rain fall events contribute to flow, but they are sparse. Personal use of water for small pastures and lawns draws from this groundwater source as well. If we overuse this resource and the water table drops below the elevation of the main channel, water will no longer flow into the channel as surface water. Water will remain near the bed of the channel as shallow subsurface flow, but the river will not flow. The important thing to think about is the benefit we all receive from the Lolo Creek watershed. The health of the river as a whole is compromised when the channel runs dry, and we all depend on this resource.
Resources: Low Water Alert Poster