A bunch of snow has melted, turning rivers brown, and there’s still more to melt.

But to ensure irrigators and other water users are still smiling come August, we’ll need some rain, according to the latest snow survey report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“We rely on that June precipitation to help supplement this snowmelt,” said Lucas Zukiewicz, a water supply specialist for the NRCS.

Whether that precipitation will come is a much harder thing to predict, especially in a year like this where snowfall levels have fluctuated widely from month to month. But the report indicates that water supply is in decent shape heading into the summer.

The report showed above average snowpack for June 1 for several of southwestern Montana’s river basins, a sign that there’s still an abundance of snow at high elevations within those river basins.

The numbers in the report come after snowpack has already peaked, meaning much of the region’s snowpack has already moved into the rivers over the last month. It’s likely the rivers will reach their snowmelt-driven peaks sometime in the next week, Zukiewicz said.

The Jefferson River basin was listed at 120% of its normal snowpack for June 1, despite variable precipitation levels for June. The Ruby basin, for example, received a third of its normal precipitation. Water supply looks sufficient for now, the report said, but the basin needs normal precipitation levels through the summer to avoid water shortages later on.

Snowpack levels were especially high in the Madison River basin as of June 1, with the Madison Plateau above Hebgen Lake at 173% of normal. That reservoir and Ennis Lake are fairly full, in part because of some water carried over from last year.

“The water supplies in the Madison are looking good,” Zukiewicz said.

High elevation snow is still hanging on in the Gallatin River basin, too, even as the river started rising in the middle of May. The basin was listed at 140% of normal for June 1.

Snowmelt has continued there, bringing the Gallatin to near 5,000 cubic feet per second Thursday morning. Cooler weather over the weekend will likely slow that rise somewhat.

The upper Yellowstone River basin was listed at 133% of normal on June 1.

Michael Wright can be reached at mwright@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1.

Michael Wright covers the environment and wildlife issues for the Chronicle.

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