Tag: Green Mountain Reservoir

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”

Colorado: Annual State of the River sessions include vital information on snowpack, stream flows and reservoirs

Colorado River Basin snowpack and streamflow forecasts now similar to 1977, 2002 and 2012 drought years

Statewide snowpack is just half of average going into the crucial phase of runoff season.
Don’t miss this year’s State of the River.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Continued drought in the Far West, along with Colorado’s push to develop a first-ever statewide water plan, should be reason enough for Coloradans to take an interest in the state of the Colorado River.

One of the best chances to get a user-friendly update is at the annual State of River meeting, sponsored by the Blue River Watershed Group.

Hands-on water experts will explain how this year’s snowmelt will play out and how that affects operations of Dillon Reservoir and Green Mountain Reservoir — both for water deliveries downstream and for onsite recreational use.

To accommodate a bigger turnout, the State of the River presentation has been moved to the Silverthorne Pavilion (Tuesday, May 5, 6-8 p.m.) Continue reading “Colorado: Annual State of the River sessions include vital information on snowpack, stream flows and reservoirs”

Colorado: Forest Service to drop fees at Cataract Lake

Day-use at Green Mountain Reservoir will once again be free after years of wrangling over a federal lands recreation fee program.

Revised plan for Green Mountain Reservoir, Cataract Lake area gets provisional OK from advisory group

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — This land is once again your land for free, at least at the popular Cataract Lake trailhead in northern Summit County, where the U.S. Forest Service has been charging a feee to park and hike since the late 1990s.

But last week, a citizen advisory committee voted to a approve a revised recreation plan for the larger Green Mountain Reservoir area, including Cataract Lake, and the new plan ends the unpopular Cataract Lake parking and hiking fee, as well as day use fees at Green Mountain Reservoir. The new plan also reconfigures camping fees to a basic per-site charge, with extra fees for extra cars.

A couple of caveats: The vote by the Colorado Recreation Resource Advisory Committee apparently was incomplete, with a few members missing, so it’s not altogether clear if the vote will stick, Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest Supervisor Rick Cooksey, the designated federal official on the recreation advisory panel. Cooksey said he will speak with the members who were absent from the meeting to try and get their approval for the Green Mountain-area plan. Continue reading “Colorado: Forest Service to drop fees at Cataract Lake”

Water: Scrambling to sustain Colorado River flows

Cooperative releases from headwaters reservoirs will help sustain environmental and recreational values

A NASA satellite captured this image of the Colorado River flowing through Utah.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — With some of the lowest stream flows on record for this time of year, Colorado water managers are wrangling every last drop and trying to make them all count.

Upstream storage and diversions have exacerbated the low flows resulting from a meager snowpack and early runoff. As a result, water temperatures in parts of the Colorado River recently have already reached temperatures close to 60 degrees, which is borderline dangerous for trout. Those temperature readings were measured at a gage in the Pumphouse area, according to Jim Pokrandt, communications specialist with the Colorado River District.

Average Colorado River flows through Glenwood Canyon this time of year are about 6,000 cfs, but this year, the river has been flowing at less than 20 percent of that, at about 1,100 cfs.

Looking to raise stream flows, the Colorado River District, Denver Water and the Bureau of Reclamation are cooperating under the Shoshone outage protocol, which helps sustain flows along the Colorado River mainstem with water from Wolford Mountain Reservoir, Williams Fork Reservoir and Green Mountain Reservoir — even when Xcel’s Shoshone power plant isn’t exercising a senior water right that historically keeps at least some water in the river during dry seasons and years. Continue reading “Water: Scrambling to sustain Colorado River flows”

Drought Watch: Some Colorado streams at record low flows

Resource managers urge conservation

Mudflats along the shore of Dillon Reservoir signify a below-average moisture year.

*Editor’s note: Local water experts are writing a weekly series to raise awareness about potential drought impacts of low stream flows and falling reservoir levels. This is the first installment.

By Troy Wineland

“Uncharted territory.” “Driest year on record!” “Seeing things that have never occurred before.”

These were the headlines and quotes in 2002, the last time we experienced conditions comparable to the current dry spell.

Uncharted … The Bureau of Reclamation, which operates Green Mountain Reservoir, placed its “start of fill” call April 1, the earliest possible date and the earliest on record.

The basis? Even assuming above average precipitation this summer, which is not in the forecast, Green Mountain will fall more than 20 feet short of filling this year. This equals a 40,000-acre-foot shortfall in wet water storage.

Driest year … The entire state is experiencing drought conditions to a varying degree, from abnormally dry to extreme drought. Summit County is under severe drought and will remain there, or worsen, without substantial precipitation.

Never occurred before … My conversations with ranchers revealed a mutual consternation. Not one of them can recall an earlier or drier spring. Headgates were opened weeks early and the irrigators are struggling to capture a fraction of what they typically divert. Continue reading “Drought Watch: Some Colorado streams at record low flows”

Summit County: Tree-planting volunteers needed

VOC is coordinating a family friendly cottonwood tree-planting day this weekend.

300 cottonwoods to go into the ground at McDonough Flats Campground, at Green Mountain Reservoir

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Reforestation efforts in the high country aren’t focused exclusively on lodgepole pines these days. In one of the first big projects of the year, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado will coordinate the May 19 planting of 300 cottonwood trees at the McDonald Flats Campground in Heeney, 15 miles north of Silverthorne.

Cottonwoods are iconic trees in Colorado’s riverside zones. They’re an incredibly important part of the riparian ecology, providing habitat for cavity nesting birds like rare Lewis’ woodpeckers and stabilizing soils along rivers and lakes. Being adapted to growing near Colorado’s fast-flowing streams, new cottonwood trees can grow from a sprig or a branch that breaks off and gets stuck in some sand or riverside cobbles. Continue reading “Summit County: Tree-planting volunteers needed”

Colorado: Green Mountain Reservoir not likely to fill this year

Bureau of Reclamation starts filling the reservoir April 1, the earliest date possible

Recreation could be affected by low water levels at Green Mountain Reservoir this summer.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Green Mountain Reservoir is unlikely to fill this year, even though the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is already staking its claim to Blue River water with the earliest “start of fill” on record.

The reservoir at the north end of Summit County is a key piece of the regional water supply puzzle, helping buffer the Upper Blue when senior water rights holders downstream on the Colorado call for water, at Xcel’s Shoshone power plant in Glenwood Canyon and irrigation in the Grand Valley, for example.

Green Mountain Reservoir is currently about 43 feet below its maximum level and BuRec has shut the valve on outflows below Green Mountain Dam. Currently, only about 75 cubic feet per second are flowing past the dam and into the Blue River. Those low flows will likely persist until senior water rights holders down stream call for water from the reservoir. Continue reading “Colorado: Green Mountain Reservoir not likely to fill this year”