Lawn Lake flood 40 years ago changed #EstesPark — The #Loveland Reporter-Herald

Lawn Lake Flood

Click the link to read the article on the Loveland Reporter-Herald website (Dallas Heltzell |). Here’s an excerpt:

A disaster 40 years ago today changed the face of downtown Estes Park, and its tourism-dependent businesses still are reaping the benefits of a landscaped riverwalk and other improvements…Lawn Lake, at 10,789 feet at the headwaters of Roaring River in what now is Rocky Mountain National Park and eight miles west of Estes Park, originally was a 16.4-acre natural body of water dammed by a glacial moraine. However, in 1903, 12 years before the park’s founding, the Farmers Irrigation Ditch and Reservoir Co. added a dam to supply water to farmlands around Loveland. By 1982, the reservoir covered 48 acres and was up to 35 feet deep. The dam was allowed to remain when the park was founded, but access for maintenance and inspections deteriorated over the years…

Within six weeks after the flood, town trustees approved the EPURA, and the foundation paid the legal costs to develop the ordinance needed. Gov. Dick Lamm obtained a federal disaster declaration from President Ronald Reagan, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency “took over the overall management of trying to put the town together again,” Rosener said. “They were tremendous.”

Foundation members recruited urban designers and “convinced the town to hire them,” Rosener said, “and we created an urban renewal plan. All of my team worked over the next 12 to 14 months to create the plan, construction began in 1984 and was done in about two years.”

One building at the intersection of Elkhorn Avenue and Riverside Drive had to be demolished to make way for the design’s Confluence Park, where the Fall and Big Thompson rivers met, Rosener said. Along Elkhorn, narrow sidewalks were widened and parallel parking eliminated. Private businesses were encouraged to update their properties, Rosener said, and tearing up Elkhorn Avenue to redo it revealed “a main waterline made out of wood slats wrapped in steel bands. There were all kinds of issues with telephone and gas — it was just a spider web when they opened up Elkhorn.” Because East Elkhorn Avenue carried U.S. Highways 34 and 36, “we had to convince the state to give up one lane of traffic” — a decision that aided the beautification but also, three decades later, fueled the controversial one-way “Loop” proposal. But the result, Thomas said, was that “the new urban-renewal authority formed after the flood beautified the town and created a streetscape that totally changed the face of downtown” and provided a venue for some new river-facing businesses. “Instead of having these ugly areas behind stores, they turned the focus back toward the rivers. Now we have the riverwalk, we have park benches, we have new lighting. We have trees planted along Elkhorn Avenue. All of that was the result of the Lawn Lake flood.”

#SanJuanRiver flow below median despite wet June — The #PagosaSpringsSun #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Click the link to read the article on the Pagosa Springs Sun website (Josh Pike). Here’s an excerpt:

Stream flow for the San Juan River on July 13 at approximately 9 a.m. was 132 cubic feet per second (cfs), according to the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) National Water Dashboard. This is down from a nighttime peak of 150 cfs at 4 a.m. on July 13. Flows are down from last week’s reading of 328 cfs at 9 a.m. on July 6 and from that day’s nighttime peak of 499 cfs at 2:45 a.m. The median flow for July 13 for the period between 1987 and 2022 is 205 cfs. Last year, the San Juan River was at 86.1 cfs at 9 a.m. on July 13, down from a nighttime peak of 102 cfs at 9:15 p.m. on July 12.

Colorado Drought Monitor map July 12, 2022.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) reports that 100 percent of the county is experiencing drought. Although June 2022 was the second wettest June in 128 years, with 2.48 more inches of precipitation than normal, 2022 to date is the 33rd driest year in the last 128 years, with 2.84 inches of precipitation less than normal, according to the NIDIS.

The NIDIS places the entire county in a severe drought, which the
website notes may cause farmers to reduce planting, producers to sell cattle and the wildfire season to be extended, among other impacts. The NIDIS also notes that a severe drought is associated with low surface water levels and reduced river flows.

The NIDIS provides an evaporative demand (EDDI) forecast…The forecast for the area indicates that in the next two weeks, the majority of Archuleta County will be experiencing a mix of severe wet and extreme wet conditions while the four-week forecast shows the county will be experiencing a mix of severe wet and moderate wet conditions.

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) board will hold a public hearing concerning proposed upgrades to the Snowball #Water Treatment Plant on August 18, 2022 — The #PagosaSprings Sun

The water treatment process

Click the link to read the article on the Pagosa Springs Sun website. (Josh Pike). Here’s an excerpt:

He explained that the engineer had estimated that the cost would be $25 million but that the contractor placed the price at “closer to $40 million,” necessitating that PAWSD reapply for a larger loan. The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. at the PAWSD administrative office at 100 Lyn Ave.