Aspinall Operations update

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From email from Reclamation (Dan Crabtree):

is a summary of our January 21, 2010 meeting to coordinate Reclamation’s operation of the Aspinall Unit. The meeting was held in Montrose. Handouts and presentations from the meeting can be found at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/water/rsvrs/mtgs/amcurrnt.html . As an update, the February 1 Blue Mesa Reservoir April through July inflow forecast is 600,000 ac-ft. The resultant 24 hour Black Canyon peak called for in the Federal Reserved Water Right is 4,492 cfs. At this time, it is Reclamation’s intent to operate the Unit to allow the water right to continue to be met. Highlights of the meeting include:

– January 1 forecast for 2010 spring runoff into Blue Mesa is around 80 percent of average. History has shown that the forecast can change significantly between January and the end of the runoff season because January is still early in the snow accumulation period. Currently El Nino conditions are present in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. El Nino years have resulted in drier winter hydrology followed by wetter than average spring conditions in years past.
– Based on the January 1 forecast, summer flows downstream from the Gunnison Tunnel should be between 600 cfs and 1000 cfs. A determination of the magnitude of the spring peak for the Black Canyon water right will be made on May 1. Blue Mesa is anticipated to fill this year.
– The Colorado Division of Wildlife made a presentation on the Gunnison River trout fishery and the relation of fish populations and river flows (link to presentation will be available on the operations summary website

If you have any suggestions on improving the operation meetings or summaries, please let us know. The next operation meeting will be on Thursday, April 22, 2010 in Grand Junction at the Western Colorado Area Office. If you have any questions, please call me at 970 248-0652.

More Aspinall Unit coverage here.

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