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If you’ve ever dreamed about fishing in the West, chances are you’ve pictured something like the South Fork of the Flathead, an achingly beautiful turquoise river tumbling over multicolored pebbles and wending through the deep forest of northwest Montana. Wade Fredenberg is among the few lucky enough to have grown up fishing there, and his childhood recollections read like a pa
Coordinated releases from a series of Upper Colorado River Basin reservoirs began yesterday afternoon and are anticipated to carry on through early next week as part of the Coordinated Reservoirs Operations Program. Managers of the reservoirs completed a conference call yesterday, agreeing to voluntarily run the program this year.
The phrase “implied water rights” for special designations on federal lands sent chills down the spines of local irrigators at a meeting discussing the legal ramifications on their potential below McPhee dam.
An important component of the recovery of the endangered Colorado Pikeminnow and Razorback Sucker in the San Juan River is the magnitude and pattern of flows in the critical habitat downstream of Farmington. The first development of the flows was in 1999 that primarily focused on the quantity of water and timing of releases from Navajo Reservoir. Also in 1999, a range of equally important flow ranges were estimated to be beneficial to recovery of the fish: base flows of 500 to 1000 cfs; peak intermediate flows of 2500/5000/8000 cfs; and peak flow of 10,000 cfs or more. The outlet works at Navajo Dam cannot release more than 5,000 cfs so in order to obtain flows downstream of Farmington approaching 10,000 cfs, Navajo releases need to be matched with high Animas River flows (i.e. spring runoff).
The Montezuma County commission and San Juan Basin Farm Bureau have publicly come out against a fledgling proposal to create a National Conservation Area on the Lower Dolores River. Citing concerns that the designation could result in additional water being released downstream from McPhee Reservoir, the commissioners voted 3-0 to oppose any such plan.
State and federal biologists have been trying to protect the greenback cutthroat trout ever since it was included on the first-ever Endangered Species Act list in 1973. But in 2007, a University of Colorado study cast doubt on whether the fish they'd been saving were actually greenbacks at all.
Much of the snowpack in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado is already gone, but it seems to be blowing away in the wind rather than melting into the state’s streams and rivers. That has water managers scrambling to cope with the state’s fourth consecutive very dry year.
Seasonal storms have exposed once more some perennial political divisions over California water. Citing the latest rainfall, seven of the state’s lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to free up more irrigation deliveries for San Joaquin Valley farms. The muscular Capitol Hill lineup is noticeable both for who’s on it and who’s not.
There is a lot going on these days that could affect the Dolores Project and many recent events have received newspaper coverage. This column is intended to put these events into a broader context that will help those who are interested understand what is going on as this story continues to unfold.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says five western Colorado reservoirs won’t be releasing water to help endangered fish this spring because of dry conditions.