Lake Pueblo returning to normal as floodwater released — The Pueblo Chieftain

Pueblo Dam
Pueblo Dam

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Maybe it’s time to slap a tag on the Arkansas River that says “shrinks when wet.”

Despite a rainy week, the flow in the Arkansas River is expected to be cut in half today, as the last of stored floodwater is released from Pueblo Dam.

“We started to cut the flows (Tuesday) afternoon,” said Roy Vaughan of the Bureau of Reclamation. “They should be around 2,500 (cubic feet per second) in the morning.”

Water levels have allowed most areas of Lake Pueblo to be reopened, although the sailboard area parking lot still is being assessed and some shoreline areas are soft, Lake Pueblo State Park Manager Monique Mullis said.

“There are still some logs in the water,” Mullis said.

The park is planning to announce wood collection opportunities in the near future.

After the water levels drop in the Arkansas River, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the city of Pueblo and Pueblo County will decide on whether to lift boating restrictions that remain in effect on the river to the Otero County line.

Wet weather returned to the Pueblo area this week, with storms leaving up to half an inch of rain in Pueblo Monday, an inch in areas west of Pueblo and up to 3 inches in the Beulah and Colorado City-Rye areas.

Similar rainfall totals were expected through Tuesday night, with even heavier rain expected today, according to Randy Gray of the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

“The heaviest precipitation should be in the mountain areas in the Sangre de Cristo (Range), Wet Mountains, El Paso and Teller counties,” Gray said. “It should move to the east by Thursday.”

Up to an inch of rain is expected in the Upper Arkansas Valley and the northern San Luis Valley.

The new rain kept water levels on Fountain Creek and in the Arkansas River high. Avondale briefly reached flood stage for the first time in a week Tuesday morning, but should return to lower levels as Pueblo Dam releases are cut.

Fountain Creek levels jumped slightly Tuesday, but were nowhere near the damaging levels in May and June.

The rain had not caused any new damage to county roads, although some private driveways washed out in the Rye area, said Alf Randall, Pueblo County public works director.

Fountain Creek continues to cut at Overton Road north of the Pinon Bridge, and negotiations with Pueblo Springs Ranch owners for a byoff pass route continue. The county this week began work on shoring up the northwest dike on the Pinon Bridge to prevent damage, Randall added.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here.

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