Southern Delivery System: Upper Williams Creek recreation potential

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Colorado Springs Utilities proposed Southern Delivery System includes plans for a terminal reservoir at a site northeast of Colorado Springs known as the Upper Williams Creek Reservoir. Here’s a look at potential recreational opportunities associated with the reservoir, from R. Scott Rappold writing for the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

Upper Williams Creek Reservoir will be the largest, in surface area, owned by Colorado Springs. Boaters, anglers, swimmers, hikers and picnickers may all be able to use it, in a region that has always been challenged for aquatic recreation. But don’t go buy a speed boat and water skis yet. It will be at least a decade before the reservoir is full, and Colorado Springs Utilities officials have not determined how recreation will be managed, since there are concerns about the impacts motor boating could have on a lake whose primary function is to store drinking water. “We do want to offer some form of boating, but we’ve got to have some internal discussion and agreement on what kind of boating that is,” said Keith Riley, SDS project planning and permitting manager…

Upper Williams Creek Reservoir will be one-seventh the size of Pueblo Reservoir, one-fourth the size of Elevenmile Reservoir, 120 acres smaller than Cherry Creek Reservoir outside of Denver and more than 10 times the size of Prospect Lake in Memorial Park…

…some research has linked gas-powered boats to water-quality problems, including petroleum in the water. Recreational boats also provide the main transportation for invasive zebra mussels, which were found at Pueblo Reservoir last year – and last month hitch-hiking on three boats before they were put in the reservoir. The mussels, which had before not been detected in Colorado, can clog water pipes and drive out native species in a lake. Utilities officials also haven’t decided if they will allow swimming, which can lead to problems of dirt and human waste in water. “We do want to maximize the recreational opportunities at the reservoir site, but we’ve got to balance that with safety and protection of the water supply,” Riley said.

Fishing will be allowed. As a shallow lake, about 120 feet at its deepest, it will be a warm-water fishery, to be stocked by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Riley said, probably with bass, walleye, perch and blue gill. There are also plans for picnic facilities, hiking trails and a playground.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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