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WWRC 87-03
Reservoir Eutrophication and the Value of Recreational Activities: A Case Study of Flaming Gorge Reservoir


Flaming Gorge Reservoir is located in southwestern Wyoming and northeastern Utah. The reservoir's 42,000 surface acres make it the ninth largest fresh water body in the five-state intermountain region of Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Its size, and reputation as a trout fishery, attract fishermen from many locations throughout the intermountain region. In the 1970's Flaming Gorge became a nationally renown trout fishery producing a world record brown trout in 1977. In recent years the reservoir has become well known for the large lake trout it produces. A wide variety of other recreationists are also attracted to Flaming Gorge by the scenic beauty of the area, particularly at the southern end of the reservoir.

Flaming Gorge Dam was built in 1962 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to impound water from the Green River. The reservoir serves the purpose of storing water for irrigation and power production. Because of its size, the reservoir is also utilized as a multipurpose recreational area providing a base for such activities as fishing, boating, waterskiing, and swimming. The reservoir is surrounded by 201,114 acres of public land so there is ample space for other types of recreational activities such as camping and hunting. Both the reservoir and the public land surrounding the reservoir constitute a National Recreation Area which is operated by the joint efforts of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Wyoming Game and Fish and Utah Division of Wildlife are responsible for fisheries management in the reservoir.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir has nine major boat ramps, three of which have marinas. Six of the boat ramps also have developed camping facilities and there are several other camping facilities near the reservoir. Due to its size, the reservoir is generally divided into three distinct areas based upon topography, geology, hydrographic features, limnology, and distribution of fish. These are the Inflow area, Open Hills area, and Canyon area (Wengert 1985).

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