Voluntary Flow Program in full swing on the Arkansas River

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Here’s the release from the Colorado Division of Wildlife:

Outdoor enthusiasts looking to beat the heat of the summer season can enjoy rafting, kayaking, fishing, camping and other outdoor recreation activities at the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA).

The AHRA will have more than 10,000 acre-feet of water available for the Voluntary Flow Management Program (VFMP) this summer as a result of a joint effort between the Bureau of Reclamation, the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District and the Pueblo Board of Water Works, according to Rob White, AHRA park manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“This helps ensure the Upper Arkansas River will have great flows for rafting and kayaking at least through mid-August, and the fishing should continue to be stellar well into the fall,” White said.

The VFMP is a cooperative program crafted in the 1990’s with help from Trout Unlimited and the Arkansas Rivers Outfitters Association. Administered by the Bureau of Reclamation, in cooperation with the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, the VFMP provides water management guidelines that provide for whitewater flows in the Arkansas River for recreation users in the summer months, while also protecting and enhancing the fishery by establishing minimum flow guidelines throughout the rest of the year.

To take advantage of floating, fishing and other recreational experiences along the headwaters recreation area, check out http://www.aroa.org.

Additional information on the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is available at http://www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/ArkansasHeadwaters.

From The Mountain Mail (Casey Kelly):

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Park Manager Rob White said Thursday he was doubtful a target flow of 600 cubic feet per second of Voluntary Flow Management Program water could be maintained through Aug. 15. White made the comment during the AHRA Citizens Task Force meeting. White said Voluntary Flow Management Program water began running July 1. He said VMFP water totals about 11,000 acre-feet this year.

He said 10,000 acre-feet of water was provided by the Bureau of Reclamation, 700 acre-feet from Colorado Parks and Wildlife water and 191 acre-feet from the Pueblo Board of Water Works. He said AHRA initially ran Parks and Wildlife’s water out of Clear Creek Reservoir. “We emptied that account, which was about 695 acre-feet of water, (July 10),” White said. “We began running the Pueblo Board of Water Works water, which is about 191 acre-feet, and that will end today at 3:15 (p.m.)”

White said AHRA started out maintaining flows of 700 cfs. Later the target was lowered to 650 cfs, then lowered to 600 cfs, where it stands now. “The reason we’re lowering the target is because, if you look at (the amount of) water that we have, and then project using that water through Aug. 15, if we try to maintain 700 cfs now, we just won’t have anything left for August.”

White said 70 cfs had been released into the river at the time of the meeting, and it would run out at about 3:15 p.m., at which time the Bureau of Reclamation would begin to use its 10,000 acre-feet of water, “and we’ll begin that release at 1 (p.m.).” He said there is a “2-hour lag” between Twin Lakes and Clear Creek, and to avoid “a hole in the river,” the water would need to be released at Twin Lakes 2 hours before the release stops at Clear Creek. White also said the water gauge at Wellsville was reading 15 cfs too high prior to Monday.

More Arkansas River Basin coverage here and here.

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