Snowpack/runoff news: The South Platte Basin is still the best in the state = 86% of the median

Click on a thumbnail graphic to march across the water year Westwide SNOTEL’s.

Meanwhile The Durango Herald is reporting that snowpack in the southwestern watersheds has dropped to 54% of normal. Here’s an excerpt:

The Colorado statewide snowpack stands at 69 percent of average while the Colorado River basin, which supplies some of the water to lower-basin states, including California, is at 76 percent of average.

Conditions are even more critical in Southwest Colorado where the snow/water equivalent in the existing snowpack is 54 percent of the 30-year median as of Friday. Looking at year-to-date precipitation in the same region – which doesn’t account for snow-water equivalency or melting – that was 67 percent of average as of Friday…

Strong wind such as has occurred in recent days could bring dust to Southwest Colorado, including its snow-covered mountains, A covering of dust is undesirable because the dark coating absorbs heat, causing the snow to melt more quickly.

San Miguel River: Restoration project will reverse channelization

Photo via TellurideValleyFloor.org
Photo via TellurideValleyFloor.org

From The Telluride Daily Planet:

One of the biggest human impacts on the Valley Floor was the channelization of the once-meandering San Miguel River approximately 125 years ago, pushing the waterway into an unnatural straight line on the western edge of the valley. That crime against nature could be reversed in a $1.6 million plan presented to Telluride Town Council on Tuesday.

The ambitious engineering project would focus on a section of the river from the sewer lagoons near Entrada to Boomerang Road, restoring the flow to the historic route of the river — a pathway that can be seen in old photographs and is hinted at in the current topography of the 570-acre green space.

“What we’re doing in this situation is we’re actually moving the flow path of the San Miguel River,” said Dave Blauch, a senior ecologist for Ecological Resource Consultants, Inc., a group that is assisting in the river restoration project. “The concept has been to pull it out on the Valley Floor to function more naturally.”

Blauch told council members of the many environmental benefits that the project would create: the restoration of approximately 5,000 linear feet of aquatic and riparian habitat, the elimination of a highly unnatural water channel, the restoration of natural flood cycles and the improvement of the natural habitat.

The new — but really quite old — river channel would be cut with excavation equipment and the project would be a disruptive sight to see on the protected land while underway.

Hilary Cooper, a member of the committee focused on the river restoration project, told council members that the benefits of the project would far outweigh one season of construction disruption.

More San Miguel River watershed coverage here.