Runoff news: Kicking up releases at Blue Mesa

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From email from Reclamation (Dan Crabtree):

Reclamation has received the most recent April through July runoff forecast for Blue Mesa Reservoir from the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. It has increased from 690,000 ac-ft on May 1st to a preliminary June 1st forecast of 765,000 ac-ft. This could increase with the final June forecast. In addition, the May runoff into Blue Mesa was 158% of average. Unfortunately, this combination of events is requiring us to significantly increase releases in order to attempt to avoid spilling Blue Mesa Reservoir.

There could be several reasons for the increase in the forecast: perhaps some of the snowpack was unaccounted for, or the snowmelt runoff has been extremely efficient due to its accelerated nature, combined with a cool moist second half of May. These factors are still being analyzed.

Based on this new data, releases from Crystal Reservoir will increase to full power plant and by-pass capacity over the next few days. Gunnison Gorge and Black Canyon flows will gradually increase by 200 to 300 cfs per day until reaching a flow of about 3,300 cfs on Saturday, June 6th. Flows could stay at this level through the end of June depending on hydrology.

The South Platte mainstem is a “free river” right now, according to the DNR and CWCB.

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