Construction of Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation started in 1959, and storage began in November 1962. A reconnaissance study was made during the period 1966-68 to determine the effects of the reservoir on the chemical quality of the effluent water and to describe the quality of the impounded water and inflowing water.
The major inflow to the reservoir is from the Green River, which contributes an average of 81 percent of the water and 59 percent of the inflow load of dissolved solids. Together, Blacks Fork and Henrys Fork contribute an average of about 16 percent of the water and about 23 percent of the dissolved-solids load, whereas minor tributaries contribute approximately 3 percent of the total inflow water to the reservoir, but about 18 percent of the total incoming load of dissolved solids.
The concentration of dissolved solids in the reservoir in October 1966 was about 150 mg/l (milligrams per liter) greater than the concentration of the 1962-66 inflow and in September 1968 about 95 mg/l greater than the concentration of the 1962-68 inflow. The increased concentration is due. mostly to leaching of minerals from the reservoir bottom. For the 1963-68 water years, about 1.2 million tons of dissolved solids was leached from inundated areas. The major observable difference between the chemical composition of the inflow during 1963-66 and that of the reservoir in 1966 is an
increase in the percentage of sulfate and a decrease in the percentage of bicarbonate. Impoundment of water in Flaming Gorge Reservoir during the 1963-68 water years caused the concentration of dissolved solids in the river system to increase by 130 mg/l, or about 32 percent over what would have occurred without the reservoir. Evaporation accounted for an increase of 15 mg/l, and leaching accounted for an increase of 115 mg/l.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Chemical quality of surface water in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir area, Wyoming and Utah