Stagecoach Dam to be raised by 4 feet

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The Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District plans to raise the level of Stagecoach Reservoir 4 feet, according to a report from Melinda Dudley writing for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. From the article:

The Upper Yampa Water Con servancy District is awaiting permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Routt County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to raise the water level in Stagecoach Reservoir by 4 feet. If the permitting process goes through without any hitches the dam-raising would take place this fall, though delays could push it back another year, [Kevin McBride, district manager of the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District] said.

“I’ve learned not to second-guess the permitting process,” McBride said Thursday, sitting in Fetcher’s office in the Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District building…

To raise the water level of Stagecoach Reservoir, construction to the dam itself will be pretty simple, requiring a 4-foot cap to be placed on top of the dam’s existing spillway, McBride said. Raising the water level by 4 feet will increase Stagecoach Reservoir’s capacity from 33,273 acre-feet to 36,460 acre-feet, McBride said…

The surface area of the reservoir will increase from 771 acres to 819 acres, and the water will encroach anywhere from 4 to 40 feet on the existing shoreline, depending on terrain, McBride said.

Expanding the footprint of the reservoir will require a wide range of mitigation work on the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District’s dime, including infrastructure work for Stagecoach State Park, raising the boat ramps, and wildlife, wetland and waterfowl mitigation projects. The district worked extensively with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on wildlife mitigation plans. The water district will reconstruct some of the existing wetlands around the reservoir — which will be inundated when the water level rises — develop a new waterfowl habitat area and do preventative work to discourage pike breeding, McBride said.

Raising the water level in Stagecoach Reservoir and the associated mitigation projects will cost a total of about $3 million, McBride said. Because of the uncertain economy, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy Dis trict has not determined exactly how the project will be financed, though McBride said the district can fund it almost entirely out of reserves if need be.

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