Drought news: Voluntary fishing ban still in effect on the Yampa River through Steamboat


Click on the thumbnail graphic for the hydrograph for the Yampa River at Steamboat since March 1.

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

Just back in his office from the Flat Tops Wilderness Area after four days of research in the field, [Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife fisheries biologist Billy Atkinson] said a high priority is consulting with reservoir managers on the upper Yampa River to gather information about their plans to release water in the near term.

“As I’ve always said, and even with all this rain we’ve had lately, I want to see a week straight of improved dissolved oxygen levels and a good weather forecast” before contemplating a lifting of the ban, Atkinson said.

The voluntary fishing ban was imposed by Parks and Wildlife in conjunction with a city ban on tubing when the river dropped below 85 cubic feet per second. It is in effect from the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area upstream from Steamboat and downstream all the way to the city’s western limits.

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

“We haven’t had nearly as much rain as (Steamboat has). The most we’ve gotten at one time is a quarter inch,” [North Routt Rancher Doug Carlson] said. “The past 10 days, we’ve had just enough to stop us from doing any haying but really not enough to do us a whole lot of good.”

Routt County CSU Extension Agent Todd Hagenbuch said the weather forecast that calls for mostly sunny skies for the next six days tells him that a good part of the agricultural community will be out in the fields mowing and baling hay.

“It’s supposed to be partly sunny to mostly clear through Monday,” Hagenbuch said. “I think people are going to be putting up a lot of hay in the next few days. Some people have been getting their (mowed) hay turned just in time for it to get rained on again. Some folks are just waiting to cut it.”

Adding extra urgency to the desire to get the hay crop baled and stacked, Hagenbuch said, is the potential for regrowth in the mowed hay fields to allow cattle ranchers to get their livestock off stressed pastureland and set the cows to grazing in the fields.

From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent:

The city of Rifle is lifting restrictions on outside watering and irrigation. The end to restrictions took effect on Thursday, according to a press release issued by the city of Rifle.

From The Denver Post (Matt Stensland):

During a two-week period in the beginning of July, drought conditions for parts of Routt County were upped to “exceptional,” a rating that state climatologist Nolan Doesken has said is reserved for “the worst of the worst.” According to the Palmer Drought Index, the area needed between 6 and 9 inches of rain to return to normal moisture levels.

Almost as soon as drought conditions were categorized as “exceptional,” monsoonal moisture started arriving in the region and resulted in more than 3 inches of rain in Steamboat Springs during July. After two weeks of “exceptional” drought conditions, the rating was lowered to “extreme.”

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