Fryingpan River: Ditch project to deliver water from Ruedi?

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Folks over in the Fryingpan Valley are debating the merits of building a ditch (or pipeline) from Ruedi Reservoir to the confluence of the Fryingpan River with the Roaring Fork River. The ditch would allow for the management of the fishery in the 12 mile reach below the dam. High flows from releases for the Upper Colorado Endangered Fish Recovery Program, hydroelectric generation and delivery of contract sales impacted the valley’s fishing industry last summer. Contract sales are likely to rise in the future. Here’s a report from Scott Condon writing for the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. From the article:

A ditch covering the 12 miles from the Ruedi dam to the Fryingpan’s confluence with the Roaring Fork River could deliver most of the water demanded by purchasers. In theory, the presence of a ditch would allow flows on the Fryingpan to be maintained at a level favorable to the fishery and for fishing. Most anglers won’t wade the river when flows top 350 cubic feet per second. That threshold was topped 23 times between June 1 and Sept. 1 last summer. Another long-term concern is maintaining a high enough water level throughout the summer at Ruedi Reservoir for boating. The Basalt and midvalley economy depends in large part on fishing, boating and other water-related activities in the Fryingpan Valley during summers. Basalt Town Manager Bill Kane said the issue of Ruedi releases and Fryingpan flows is vital to the town. “Not to be combative, but this is an issue that’s not going to go away,” he said at the Jan. 5 gathering.

More Fryingpan River watershed coverage here.

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