Tag: Blue River

Colorado Parks and Wildlife targets illegally stocked pike in Green Mountain Reservoir with a bounty for anglers

Northern pike
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering a $20 bounty for northern pike caught in Green Mountain Reservoir. Photo courtesy CPW.

Non-native predators could threaten endangered species in Colorado River

Staff Report

Colorado wildlife managers will try to curb expansion of non-native northern pike in Summit County’s Green Mountain Reservoir by paying anglers a $20 bounty for each fish they deliver to the Heeney Marina.

The illegally introduced fish are taking a toll on trout in the reservoir north of Silverthorne and could escape to the Blue River and make their way to the Colorado River. That could add to the challenges of trying to recover four endangered native Colorado River fish species, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“The (pike) were dumped in there several years ago by someone who selfishly didn’t consider the serious consequences we are now dealing with,” said CPW aquatic biologist Jon Ewert. “People should know that illicit stocking is a problem not only for ethical reasons but legal reasons as well. Anyone caught doing it faces severe penalties.” Continue reading “Colorado Parks and Wildlife targets illegally stocked pike in Green Mountain Reservoir with a bounty for anglers”

Blue River loses gold medal trout stream designation

Low flows, habitat destruction degrade fishery

Summit County Colorado photography
Sunrise along the Blue River in Summit County, Colorado. @bberwyn photo.
Biologists and volunteers count trout in the Blue River just below Dillon Reservoir and the Dillon Dam. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Colorado’s continued unsustainable use water has taken a toll on trout in the Blue River, where Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists have decided to remove the gold medal designation from a 19-mile reach stretching from just north of Silverthorne to Green Mountain Reservoir.

According to CPW aquatic biologist Jon Ewert, unnatural stream flows, sparse aquatic invertebrate populations, low nutrient content and degraded habitat all contributed to the decline of the fishery. The agency said that stretch of the river hasn’t met the Gold Medal standard for about 15 years.

There’s better news farther downstream, where CPW designated a 24-mile reach of the Colorado River, from Canyon Creek, at the mouth of Gore Canyon, to the confluence of Rock Creek, near the town of McCoy, as a new gold medal fishery. In Colorado, Gold Medal status is reserved for state waters that produce a minimum of 60-pounds of trout per acre and 12 trout measuring 14-inches or longer per acre. Continue reading “Blue River loses gold medal trout stream designation”

Summit County: Dillon Reservoir outflows boosted again

The Blue River near flood stage near Silverthorne.

Blue River running high through Silverthorne

Staff Report

FRISCO — Flows in the Lower Blue River, below Dillon Dam, are going up again.

With snowmelt speeding up under warm and sunny skies, Denver is boosting the outflow to 1,800 cfs to avoid a scenario where Dillon Reservoir spills at a level that causes outflows to go over that level.

That’s exactly what could happen without upping controlled releases now, Denver Water spokesman Matt Wittern said via email.

“Our experts predict that, if we maintained 1,700 cfs outflow and inflows remain around 2,400, Dillon Reservoir would be full and spilling within a week,” Wittern said. That could bring excessive flows and the potential for flooding below Dillon Reservoir.

Wittern said Denver Water is estimating the remaining snowpack in the Blue River as equivalent to between five and seven inches of water near Hoosier and Fremont passes.

That snow is melting fast, with no letup in sight. Inflows from runoff into Dillon Reservoir averaged 2,467 cfs Tuesday, which was well above current and planned outflows. And those inflows aren’t expected to drop below 1,700 cfs in the next seven days, which means Dillon Reservoir will continue to fill quickly, at the rate of about six inches per day. As of Wednesday, the reservoir was 3.25 feet below capacity.

Wittern also explained that Denver Water can’t legally divert water through the Roberts Tunnel if it’s not needed.

“Right now water levels are very high on the South PIatte River, eliminating this action as an option,” he said.

Troy Wineland, state water commissioner for the Blue River, said property owners in the Lower Blue who face flooding risks can prepare by perusing Summit County’s High Water Preparedness” manual which includes instructions on sandbag preparation and placement, as well as free sand / bag supply locations.

Wineland also said water users in the Lower Blue should be aware that higher flows will push more water through diversions, possibly over-topping in irrigation ditches.

Summit County: Dillon Reservoir expected to fill within a week

Denver Water juggling inflow, outflow

After peaking later than average, the sremaining nowpack in the Blue River Basin is melting fast. Graph courtesy Denver Water.
Flows in Blue River tributaries like Straight Creek are near their seasonal peak.

*Story corrected at 2 p.m. Dillon Reservoir outflow to the Blue River increased to 1,600 cfs Monday, July 15.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dillon Reservoir should be full within a week, according to the latest update from Denver Water, which just bumped up the outflow to the Lower Blue to make room for more runoff the next few days.

As of June 15, Denver Water was releasing about 1.600 cubic feet per second from Dillon Reservoir, with about 2,200 cfs flowing in from the Blue River and its tributaries. And Denver Water is expecting more high inflows for the foreseeable future, according to a recent email update:

“A fresh look at the estimated level of snowpack above Dillon Reservoir … tells us there is still eight inches of snow in some places, meaning high flows can be expected for the foreseeable future. The good news is that inflows to Dillon Reservoir – which have ranged from 2,206 to 2,623 over the past several days – appear to be trending downward.” Continue reading “Summit County: Dillon Reservoir expected to fill within a week”

Colorado: Big flows expected in Blue River

Good news for boaters

Healthy streamflows and good boating in the Blue River Basin. @bberwyn photo.
Blue River snowpack still growing.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Late-season storms have helped boost snowpack in the Blue River to near last year’s level, promising healthy runoff and flows in Summit County, according to Denver Water.

The effects of the steady barrage of spring storms is already showing up the Lower Blue River, where flows are increasing due to increased releases from Dillon Reservoir, according to Denver Water, which won’t be diverting water through the Roberts Tunnel until mid-July at the earliest. Continue reading “Colorado: Big flows expected in Blue River”

Morning photo: Sunday set

Winter magic!

FRISCO — An exceptional morning a few days after Christmas brought magical light to the Blue River Valley, in Summit County, Colorado. Temps below zero and a layer of frozen fog and mist combined to create a beautiful sundog, forming nearly a full circle around the sun. It may be a little challenging to get out and about at sunrise on these chilly mornings, but it’s always well worth it!

Morning photo: Sunday riverscapes

Frosty magic

Blue River Colorado
Frost-tinged willows, cottonwoods and aspens gleam in the morning light along the Blue River, north of Silverthorne, Colorado.

FRISCO —I’ve been expanding my river horizons the last few days, shooting the frost, mist and ice along Tenmile Creek, and most recently, the Lower Blue River, north of Silverthorne.

Turns out that Tenmile Creek, south of Copper, is similar to the Snake River in a couple of ways. At least in its lower reach near the resort, it flows east to west, which means the morning light can be tricky, but also awesome if you catch it at the right moment. And thanks to pollution from the Climax Mine, the water also has that fascinating aquamarine tinge that makes for good photos.

The Lower Blue is another story altogether. Thanks to Colorado’s feudalistic water laws, it’s not that easy to find good access spots for photography. Fortunately, we have an enlightened federal government that does insist on some public access rights to the water in areas where the river flows through public lands. If you like our daily snapshots, visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for more Summit County landscape and nature images. Continue reading “Morning photo: Sunday riverscapes”