Colorado-Big Thompson Project operations update: Pinewood Reservoir water level to rise over the weekend


From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

We have recently completed some regular maintenance on the east slope of the C-BT. This means that Pinewood Reservoir water levels will once again be on the rise.

Pinewood is expected to start rising late tonight, June 15. By Saturday morning, the reservoir should be only a few feet down from full.

We are also planning to restart the pump up to Carter Lake tomorrow. While this will not bump up the reservoir water elevation level, it will help keep it static, possibly through the weekend. Carter Lake is just over 70% full with a water level elevation of 5729 feet.

Horsetooth Reservoir will continue to see the slow draw down that has been going on throughout June. This is very typical for this time of year. Currently, the reservoir elevation is at 5415 feet. Interestingly, this is one foot higher than Horsetooth’s annual average water elevation line for the beginning of the summer season.

Lake Estes is also looking good for the weekend. Operations at the reservoir and Olympus Dam continue as normal.

For recreation information, please visit Larimer County Division of Natural Resources and the Estes Valley Recreation and Park District.

More Colorado-Big Thompson Project coverage here.

Runoff news: Colorado River streamflow at Glenwood Canyon less than 20% of average


From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

Average Colorado River flows through Glenwood Canyon this time of year are about 6,000 cfs, but this year, the river has been flowing at less than 20 percent of that, at about 1,100 cfs.

Looking to raise stream flows, the Colorado River District, Denver Water and the Bureau of Reclamation are cooperating under the Shoshone outage protocol, which helps sustain flows along the Colorado River mainstem with water from Wolford Mountain Reservoir, Williams Fork Reservoir and Green Mountain Reservoir — even when Xcel’s Shoshone power plant isn’t exercising a senior water right that historically keeps at least some water in the river during dry seasons and years.

“This makes a real difference in the river,” said Colorado River District general manager Eric Kuhn. “Since we started, you can see … that the temperature of the water has come down 4 degrees.

Releases from the three reservoirs of about 450 cfs should help sustain flows through Glenwood Canyon at about 1,100 cfs at least through this weekend and early next week. The 1.100 cfs flow rate is a benchmark for commercial rafting outfitters on the river, and the releases will also help farmers in the Grand Valley, Pokrandt said.

Here’s a release the Eagle River Water and Sanition District (Diane Johnson):

Drought worsens locally: “Extreme” drought area expands to include Eagle County

Northwest Colorado continues to fall deeper into drought with extreme conditions now widespread. Eagle County drought intensity was elevated to “extreme” by the U.S. Drought Monitor, joining Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, and parts of Grand, Jackson, Larimer, Summit, Pitkin, and Mesa counties.

Drought intensity throughout Colorado is worsening. The June 12 map, released Thursday, shows 20 percent of the state is designated as being in an extreme drought, 9 percent more than last week. Extreme drought is classified as “D3” on the drought intensity scale of D0 to D4.

All of Colorado continues to experience some level of drought and the areas least affected are shrinking. Last week, 24 percent of the state was designated as D0, “abnormally dry,” which dropped to 9 percent this week.

Drought conditions reflect this winter’s record low snowpack, including the driest March on record in Colorado, the warmest March through May on record, and windy conditions. Streamflows have been correspondingly low. Eagle County waterways are flowing at about 30 percent of historical averages and peak runoff was early and hardly noticeable in some streams.

Our community water supply is largely dependent upon adequate flows in local streams and rivers. Eagle River Water and Sanitation District encourages community members to lessen the impact of drought by efficiently using water, especially in outdoor areas.

Should drought conditions persist, water available for irrigation and other outdoor uses may be less than normal, or unavailable, this year. Currently, normal year-round Water Use Regulations apply, which allow outdoor water use up to three days per week, before 10 am or after 4 pm.

For more information go to

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

Via Hayseed: ‘Ed never liked that old VW beetle — it was cold and slow’


A while back in a post about Ed Quillen’s passing I wrote, “If there is a heaven I believe that Ed is probably rattling around in the mountains there driving an old Volkswagen bus just as he and Martha did in Colorado early in their marriage.”

It turns out I’m wrong about Ed’s choice of vehicles. He was a pickup truck man. Here’s a tribute to Ed from Hayseed, promoted from the Coyote Gulch comments:

FWIW, Ed never liked that old VW beetle — it was cold and slow. Its virtues were that it was cheap to operate and easy to repair. And, for a two-wheel-drive vehicle, it was good in the snow.

But Ed was always a pick-up guy, given his druthers. When his Blazer died a few years ago he looked for a Toyota Tacoma pick-up, but found they were too expensive, so settled for a Ford Ranger with a small crew cab and a canopy. He said it was the nicest vehicle he ever owned.

I first met Ed at UNC (CSC at the time) in Greeley, where he was a 17-year-old freshman and the first (perhaps still the only) National Merit Scholar to attend what he called “Podunk on the Poudre.” We raised journalistic hell together on campus publications in those days of ’60s campus ferment, and stayed in touch ever since, via correspondence (significantly enabled by the Internet) and irregular visits, in spite of the 1200 miles between us.

His family has lost it’s patriarch, his readers have lost a unique journalist, historian and philosopher, and I have lost a dear friend. We all, in our own way, were enriched by his presence and are poorer for his passing.