Runoff news: Horsetooth Reservoir is almost full

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

“Everybody’s just jazzed,” said Glen Werth, owner of Inlet Bay Marina on Horsetooth Reservoir. “The water levels are fabulous. Our rental business is fantastic. We have a lot of big boats, big groups.”

Brimming with water, Horsetooth Reservoir is expected to completely fill this week for the first time since 2004. “We do think Horsetooth is going to continue to rise,” said U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Kara Lamb. “We’re going to get pretty close to full.”

On Friday, Horsetooth Reservoir’s surface elevation was 5,425.25 feet above sea level, lower than its peak in 2010, when it hit 5,427 feet, said Brian Werner, spokesman for the Northern Colorado Water Conservation District. Horsetooth Reservoir’s full pool level is 5,430 feet. “By the end of next week, we will have Horsetooth full,” Werner said Friday.

The reservoirs are full here mostly because of the long, sustained runoff season from an abnormally large snowpack in the mountains. Werner said Northern Water’s forecasters say this year’s robust runoff is a “once-in-a-lifetime” event. “We’re smiling,” Werner said. “This is almost an ideal runoff year. We talk about this all the time and it never happens.” The runoff from the mountain snowmelt is expected to extend into August, which is nearly unheard of, he said.

Recent rains mean irrigators haven’t had to take water from the reservoir, allowing it to continue to rise. The Bureau of Reclamation has stopped taking water deliveries from the Colorado River through the Adams Tunnel, Lamb said.

More Colorado-Big Thompson Project coverage here.

From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Janice Kurbjin):

A sustained high water season on rivers in and around Summit County is coming to a close, and that means less juggling for local outfitters. “It was a challenge, for sure,” Arkansas Valley Adventures owner Duke Bradford said. AVA, like other companies, transferred trips based on flows to put ages and abilities on appropriate stretches. Someone who booked a Brown’s Canyon trip in the Arkansas River Valley may have gotten short notice that they’d now be running the more consistent Blue River, though it still ran quickly, about an hour north in Silverthorne…

“If you came to run whitewater, it’ll go down as one of the best whitewater seasons ever,” Bradford said, explaining that cooler temperatures helped sustain what many thought would be a sharp, severe spike in flows. Then, when the snowpack expired, rain and downstream water calls came. The high water lasted about six weeks…,/p>

Performance Tours and AVA have been back on the Numbers and Royal Gorge for about five days. And other trips are mostly back to normal minimum ages, with the exception of a still-high Clear Creek.

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