@CWCB_DNR: 30-Day Public Comment Period: State #Drought Mitigation & Response Plan Update.

Colorado Drought Monitor July 17, 2018.

From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board:

30-Day Public Comment Period: State Drought Mitigation & Response Plan Update. View the draft here: http://cwcb.state.co.us/Documents/ShortTermHomePage/CODroughtPlanPublicReviewDraft7202018.pdf

Go to our home page for info where to send your comments by Aug 24: http://cwcb.state.co.us/Pages/CWCBHome.aspx

Aspinall Unit operations update: 630 CFS in Black Canyon

Looking downstream from Chasm View, Painted Wall on right. Photo credit: NPS\Lisa Lynch

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

Releases from the Aspinall Unit will be decreased by 100 cfs on Monday, July 23rd . Releases are being decreased to retain storage in Blue Mesa Reservoir while still reaching the baseflow target. A recent streamflow measurement has revealed that the Gunnison River at the Whitewater gage was flowing ~100 cfs higher than what the gage was reporting. The release adjustment at Crystal will bring those river flows back down closer to the baseflow target. The latest runoff volume forecast for Blue Mesa Reservoir projects 240,000 AF of inflow between April and July, which is 36% of average.

Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 900 cfs. River flows are expected to stay above the baseflow target for the foreseeable future.

Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, is 900 cfs for July. There is a provision in the EIS which allows the baseflow target to be reduced from 1050 cfs to 900 cfs when the content in Blue Mesa Reservoir is below 600,000 AF. The current content of Blue Mesa Reservoir is 427,000 AF and dropping.

Currently, diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are 1050 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are around 730 cfs. After this release change Gunnison Tunnel diversions will still be 1050 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will be around 630 cfs. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.

CPW is implementing voluntary fishing closures on sections of the Eagle River, Colorado River, Crystal River, and Roaring Fork River in northwest Colorado.

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:

Due to high water temperatures and low flows, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is implementing voluntary fishing closures between 2 p.m. – 12 a.m. on sections of the Eagle River, Colorado River, Crystal River, and Roaring Fork River in Northwest Colorado. The fishing closure is effective immediately, until further notice.

Although anglers are not legally prohibited from fishing in these stretches, CPW is asking anglers to fish early in the day and find alternative places to fish until conditions improve.

Sections for the voluntary fishing closures include:

Eagle River from Wolcott downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River

Colorado River from State Bridge downstream to Rifle

Crystal River from Avalanche Creek downstream to its confluence with the Roaring Fork River

Roaring Fork River from Carbondale downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River.

“We appreciate the patience of our angling community as we work through some tough climate conditions,” said Northwest Regional Manager JT Romatzke. “Conserving our state’s fisheries is critical, not just for anglers, but for the local communities and businesses that rely on these resources for their livelihoods.”

CPW will place signs along the four sections of rivers to notify anglers and encourage them to consider fishing at higher elevation lakes and streams where environmental factors are much less severe, particularly during the afternoons and evenings.

If current conditions persist, CPW may consider further fishing restrictions which may include all-day voluntary fishing closures or mandatory fishing closures.

CPW recommends anglers contact their local CPW office for the most recent information relative to fishing closures, fishing conditions, and fishing opportunities.

Local watershed organizations are also good resources for information on river health including the Roaring Fork Conservancy, Eagle River Watershed Council, and the Middle Colorado Watershed Council.</blockquoteL