May rains bump John Martin Reservoir storage to 295,000 acre-feet

John Martin Reservoir back in the day
John Martin Reservoir back in the day

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

While high water has shut down parts of Lake Pueblo, it has opened up new opportunities at John Martin Reservoir 100 miles to the east.

“The reservoir hasn’t looked like this in a long time,” said John Martin State Park Manager Dan Kirmer. “If you haven’t been to the reservoir before or haven’t been in a while, you definitely need to come check it out.”

John Martin, which has been at extremely low levels for the past 15 years, now has more water than Lake Pueblo. As of Monday, John Martin had about 295,000 acre-feet, the most water it has seen since 1999, while Lake Pueblo contained about 284,000 acre-feet.

There are 200 campsites and 5 miles of hiking trails to explore, and nearly 400 species of birds at John Martin Reservoir as well.

The water level continues to rise as the reservoir is storing more water than is being released because of snowmelt, upstream flood control at Lake Pueblo and heavy precipitation so far this year.

Water levels in Lake Pueblo are slowly dropping, as water releases continue at a high level, while inflows from the Arkansas River to the west have slowed down. Many areas of Lake Pueblo State Park, including the south shore boat ramp, are closed until the high water subsides.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas River through Pueblo remains closed because of dangerously high water levels. Water stored during earlier floods is being released as quickly as possible from Pueblo Dam to reserve capacity if more flooding occurs this summer.

More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.

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