From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Tonya Bina):
“The clarity has so much improved over anything we’ve seen in August over the past 50 years,” said Three Lakes Watershed Association President Canton O’Donnell of Grand Lake. The 250-member organization has advocated for better water quality in Grand Lake for at least 20 years.
O’Donnell’s observations during a recent annual sailing regatta on Grand Lake are backed up by a Three Lakes Clarity Monitoring Report for July, which shows improvements in clarity throughout the month. Clarity in Grand Lake reached greater than 13 feet, a far cry from a 2007 reading of 4.8 feet in late summer.
The problem “everyone agrees on,” O’Donnell said, is the shallowness of Shadow Mountain Reservoir. Water delivered to northeastern Colorado to support communities and ranches is pumped through Shadow. Average residency for water in Shadow is about a month, during which the water heats up and produces algae, weeds and sediment brought through the canal into natural Grand Lake.
The monitoring program through the Grand County Water Information Network — which shares data with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District — analyzes weather and Secchi depth readings in lakes including natural Grand Lake and the connected Shadow Mountain Reservoir.