RHINELANDER, WI (WXPR) - What a difference a year makes.
Last year, Wisconsin River reservoirs were very low due to the effects of an extended drought in the Northwoods. This year, with one exception, all the reservoirs feeding the river are full. That word from Peter Hansen...the operations manager for Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company in Wausau...given the responsibility for maintaining water flow on the state's largest river. Last year several Northwoods reservoirs were well below full. But this year. “We’re really excited. We’ve been able to fill 20 or our 21 reservoirs this year, so water levels are running pretty much perfect going into the summer.” Hansen says the only reservoir still below summer normal is Little Deerskin near Phelps, but he says it's within a half-foot of full. Hansen says for the first time in many years, we're running a moisture surplus. “We’re up over three inches from normal for the year so far, and the month of May should finish out normal, so as we go into June, we should continue to be in a positive outlook for precipitation.” Hansen says while water levels are currently running above normal, a dry June and July would turn that around. He says levels don't go up much in the summer as much of the moisture is absorbed by plants and trees. The reservoirs fill quicker in spring and fall from runoff.