Wolf sighted in Jackson County confirmed to be from Wyoming’s Snake River pack — Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The gray wolf recently sighted in Jackson County has been confirmed as a dispersing male from Wyoming. Photo credit: Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (Rebbeca Ferrell):

The wolf recently sighted and photographed in Jackson County, Colorado was confirmed by Wyoming Game and Fish to be a dispersing male gray wolf from Wyoming. The collared wolf is from the Snake River pack and was last recorded by transmission signals on February 12 during routine telemetry flights around South Pass.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife will monitor the area but is no longer actively pursuing the wolf’s location. CPW will remain in close communication with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA Wildlife Services, Wyoming Game and Fish and local municipalities. Under the Endangered Species Act, harming, harassing, or killing a gray wolf other than in cases of self-defense is unlawful.

A fungus threatens survival of the only toads that live high in the Rocky Mountains — @ColoradoSun

A submerged Boreal toad. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife / Melissa Butynski

Here’s an in-depth recap of the first trek this summer to collect and treat boreal toads up near Buena Vista via Jennifer Brown writing for The Colorado Sun. Click through and read the whole thing and for the photos. Here’s an excerpt:

Tim Korpita is wearing blue rubber gloves and thigh-high waders, but when someone shouts “Toad!” he lunges like a ninja.

He takes a giant step over the marsh grasses and is on his stomach at the edge of a slow-moving creek, clutching a tiny, speckled boreal toad between his thumb and index finger. He immediately turns the inch-long creature, checking for a green or pink spot on its inner thigh.

Nothing.

Korpita, a University of Colorado doctoral candidate, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists last summer captured 250 boreal toadlets — beyond tadpoles but not quite terrestrial toads — in a high-elevation wetland along Cottonwood Creek. They injected them with a spot of either pink or green dye, visible through amphibian skin when held up to the sunlight.

Biologists collect and record data at a field laboratory as they bathe 35 Boreal toads captured on South Cottonwood Creek, west of Buena Vista, on Sept. 6, 2018. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Pink was the control group, while the green-tagged toads received antifungal bacterial baths that scientists hoped would protect them from a pathogen killing off boreal toads throughout the Rocky Mountains. The disease is killing amphibians across the globe as biologists race to stop it before it’s too late.

Korpita, 29, and a parks and wildlife crew returned to the mountains above Buena Vista on a recent blue-sky day, hoping to find at least some of their study group.

By lunchtime on toad hunt day, after nearly two hours of peering along the edges of mountain ponds and in the mud-bottomed streams flowing through the bog, the team had found just six yearling toads. They spotted five more that afternoon, gently placing each one in a plastic bag with a clump of moss for moisture.

Of the 11, just two were tagged (one pink, one green), meaning there was little to say about whether a bath last summer in the lavender-tinted wash, dubbed “purple rain,” is saving their lives.

But this was biologists’ first trek of the summer. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and CU scientists plan to return every two weeks to the Chaffee County marsh to catch the black-and-gray toads and swab their skin for DNA before releasing them back to the pond. Each one, tagged or not, is showered with sterile water to rinse off the mud and placed in a large test tube for exactly one hour to collect a sample of the bacteria on their skin.

Meanwhile, on Korpita’s recent trip to the ponds, he sits under the shade of a pine tree in the middle of the forest and showered the first batch of captured toads. With a cotton swab, he strokes their clean skin for DNA samples. Back at the lab, Korpita will try to determine whether the toads carry the deadly chytrid fungus. And for the toads that received last summer’s fungus-fighting bacteria treatment, Korpita will try to see if it’s still active in their skin and protecting them from the disease.

The hope is that by summer’s end, Korpita will have captured enough toads that received his bacterial bath to know whether it works in the wild.

BUENA VISTA — Tim Korpita is wearing blue rubber gloves and thigh-high waders, but when someone shouts “Toad!” he lunges like a ninja.

He takes a giant step over the marsh grasses and is on his stomach at the edge of a slow-moving creek, clutching a tiny, speckled boreal toad between his thumb and index finger. He immediately turns the inch-long creature, checking for a green or pink spot on its inner thigh.

Nothing.

Korpita, a University of Colorado doctoral candidate, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists last summer captured 250 boreal toadlets — beyond tadpoles but not quite terrestrial toads — in a high-elevation wetland along Cottonwood Creek. They injected them with a spot of either pink or green dye, visible through amphibian skin when held up to the sunlight.

Pink was the control group, while the green-tagged toads received antifungal bacterial baths that scientists hoped would protect them from a pathogen killing off boreal toads throughout the Rocky Mountains. The disease is killing amphibians across the globe as biologists race to stop it before it’s too late.

Tim Korpita searches for boreal toads in thick marsh grasses in the Cottonwood Creek drainage above Buena Vista in late June. Korpita treated the toads with a bacterial wash last summer in an effort to protect them from a fungus that is killing amphibians worldwide. (Nina Riggio, Special to The Colorado Sun)
Korpita, 29, and a parks and wildlife crew returned to the mountains above Buena Vista on a recent blue-sky day, hoping to find at least some of their study group.

By lunchtime on toad hunt day, after nearly two hours of peering along the edges of mountain ponds and in the mud-bottomed streams flowing through the bog, the team had found just six yearling toads. They spotted five more that afternoon, gently placing each one in a plastic bag with a clump of moss for moisture.

Of the 11, just two were tagged (one pink, one green), meaning there was little to say about whether a bath last summer in the lavender-tinted wash, dubbed “purple rain,” is saving their lives.

But this was biologists’ first trek of the summer. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and CU scientists plan to return every two weeks to the Chaffee County marsh to catch the black-and-gray toads and swab their skin for DNA before releasing them back to the pond. Each one, tagged or not, is showered with sterile water to rinse off the mud and placed in a large test tube for exactly one hour to collect a sample of the bacteria on their skin.

Meanwhile, on Korpita’s recent trip to the ponds, he sits under the shade of a pine tree in the middle of the forest and showered the first batch of captured toads. With a cotton swab, he strokes their clean skin for DNA samples. Back at the lab, Korpita will try to determine whether the toads carry the deadly chytrid fungus. And for the toads that received last summer’s fungus-fighting bacteria treatment, Korpita will try to see if it’s still active in their skin and protecting them from the disease.

The hope is that by summer’s end, Korpita will have captured enough toads that received his bacterial bath to know whether it works in the wild.

The tedious effort is one of many underway to save boreal toads, the only high-elevation toad in the Rockies. The slow-moving toads — listed as an endangered species in Colorado — can hibernate beneath the snow for six to eight months of the year, at elevations from 7,500 to 12,000 feet.

Boreal toads were so abundant, from the late 1800s and until the 1960s, that they would sit under Buena Vista lamp posts at night, gobbling up insects that swarmed to the light, according to historical articles reviewed by Parks and Wildlife. They live in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Utah, Colorado and, until they died off there, New Mexico.

Extension Needed for Protection of Interior Least Tern, Piping Plover, and Whooping Crane — @AudubonRockies

Least Tern. Photo credit Doug German via Audubon.

From Audubon Rockies (Daly Edmunds):

The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (PRRIP) is a multi-state effort that began in 1997, when the governors of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska joined with the U.S. Secretary of Interior to sign the “Cooperative Agreement for Platte River Research and Other Efforts Relating to Endangered Species Habitat along the Central Platte River, Nebraska.”

Based on the novel idea that a collaborative approach would prevent years of courtroom battles over limited water supplies and individual river species, the PRRIP works to accommodate the habitat needs of these threatened and endangered bird species by increasing stream flows in the central Platte River during relevant time periods. While these species require habitat in central Nebraska for survival, their habitat is created and maintained through a dynamic river system that begins with water from Colorado and Wyoming. The program also enhances, restores and protects habitat, and does so in a manner to accommodate new water-related activities. This is a good program but due to expire this year.

Wyoming Senator Barrasso (R) and Colorado Representative Neguse (D) each took leadership positions on this issue, sponsoring complementary bills in the Senate (S.990) and House (H.R. 3237), that propose to extend the program. Audubon Rockies and Audubon Nebraska thanked the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation for their unanimous, bipartisan support for these bills. Our offices also thanked Wyoming’s Senator Enzi for supporting the Senate bill, and Representative Cheney recently joined other western co-sponsors of the House bill. Additionally, all Colorado and Wyoming Audubon chapters sent letters thanking their respective congressional delegations for their unanimous, bipartisan of a strong stewardship program.

Meanwhile click here to enjoy the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards winners.

Birds make fascinating subjects, as the winners and honorable mentions of this year’s contest, our 10th, make clear. They’re at once beautiful and resilient, complex and comical. It’s no wonder why we love them so.

The images that won the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards, presented in association with Nature’s Best Photography, are as impressive as ever, but attentive readers might notice a few more images than usual. That’s because we’ve added two awards. The Plants for Birds category is inspired by Audubon’s Plants for Birds program, supported by Coleman and Susan Burke, which provides resources for choosing and finding plants native to zip codes in the United States. This category poses a new challenge to photographers: Don’t just capture an incredible moment—make sure it also features a bird and plant native to the location in which the photo was taken, in order to highlight the critical role native habitat plays in supporting bird life. And in the spirit of Kevin Fisher, Audubon’s longtime creative director who recently retired, the Fisher Prize recognizes a creative approach to photographing birds that blends originality with technical expertise. It honors a photograph selected from all of the submissions that pushes the bounds of traditional bird photography.

We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all 2,253 entrants, hailing from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and 10 Canadian provinces and territories. Your dedication to appreciating, celebrating, and sharing the wonder of birds and the landscapes they inhabit inspires us now and throughout the year.

Mules carry thousands of trout up steep creek as CPW returns to native waters genetically unique fish descended from 158 fish rescued from wildfire — #Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Justin Krall, a District Wildlife Manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife based in Westcliffe, sits on his mule Speedy as Jenny follows carrying saddle tanks with about 2,000 rare Hayden Creek cutthroat trout. Photo credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife / Bill Vogrin

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (Bill Vogrin):

Mule train helps CPW restore rare Hayden Creek cutthroat to mountain stream

With his sidearm sticking out from under leather chaps, Justin Krall swung up into the saddle of his mule, Speedy, and gently nudged it up the Cottonwood Creek trail as he tugged the reins of his other mule, Jenny, following behind.

On Jenny’s back were two large saddle tanks packed with about 2,000 rare Hayden Creek cutthroat trout and pressurized steel canisters pumping oxygen into the water. Krall, a District Wildlife Manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), was helping the agency’s aquatic biologists move the fish about six miles up the steep trail to the upper reaches of the creek.

Two more mules shared the trail with Krall, Speedy and Jenny. They belonged to Jeff Outhier of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) who also helped carry the load up Cottonwood Creek trail along with dozens of CPW, USFS and Trout Unlimited volunteers on July 1.

They all endured hot sun and drenching rains as they hauled bags of four-inch fish and deposited them at various points upstream.

CPW went to extremes to get these fish into the creek because they are very special fish. They contain genetic markers matching museum specimens collected by early explorers. In 1889, ichthyologist David Starr Jordan collected a pair of trout specimens from Twin Lakes, near Leadville. Today those specimens reside at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. The Hayden Creek cutthroat trout are the only known modern fish to share their genetics.

The fish stocked July 1 are descendants of 158 trout rescued by CPW from the Hayden Pass Fire in 2016, which threatened to wipe out the only known population still in existence.

As the 2016 fire raged southwest of Cañon City, aquatic biologists and staff from CPW and USFS crossed fire lines to rescue the trout before monsoon rains came, flushing the creek with choking sediment. The fish caught that day were taken to the Roaring Judy Hatchery isolation facility near Crested Butte and spawned the following springs. Meanwhile, CPW surveys of Hayden Creek after the fire and subsequent ash flows didn’t find a single survivor.

But it’s not enough to save them in a hatchery. CPW wants to restore them to several streams within the Arkansas Basin to ensure these unique cutthroat genes survive.

“We are looking at several streams in the Arkansas basin where these fish could be introduced,” said Josh Nehring, CPW senior aquatic biologist. “Spreading them across the region makes them less vulnerable to extinction due to an isolated catastrophic fire or flood event. Restoring these unique fish is a key first step to preserving these unique genes and ensuring we continue to have them on the landscape.”

Carrie Tucker, a CPW aquatic biologist, addresses about 40 volunteers who came to Cottonwood Creek to hike bags of rare Hayden Creek cutthroat trout to their new home. Josh Nehring, CPW senior aquatic biologist, reaches into a bag of rare Hayden Creek cutthroat trout as news media and volunteers watch to see him return the fish to the wild whitewater of Cottonwood Creek. All photos courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife / Bill Vogrin

These cutthroat trout survived in only one Colorado creek, until it was choked out by wildfire ash — @ColoradoSun

From The Colorado Sun (Jennifer Brown):

Now their offspring are getting a fresh start after hitching a ride in saddlebags up a mountain stream

CPW staff spawn unique cutthroat trout rescued from Hayden Pass fire. Photo credit Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The fish are the descendants of a unique species of cutthroat trout rescued from Hayden Creek in 2016 as a wildfire ripped through the Sangre de Cristo mountains, scorching nearly 17,000 acres near Coaldale.

In 2016, as the fire burned only a quarter-mile away, parks and wildlife fish biologists led by a fire crew hiked behind the fire line to remove about 200 of the fish from Hayden Creek. Wearing electrofishing backpacks, they shocked the water and waited for the stunned fish to float, netting as many as they could.

The biologists knew that particular type of cutthroat trout lived nowhere else but Hayden Creek and that the ash-filled runoff after the fire likely would kill them.

They were right. Monsoons that followed the fire sent ash and sediment into Hayden Creek, which turned the water acidic and depleted its oxygen. The remaining cutthroat suffocated. When biologists returned after the rains, they could not find one fish.

Trout rescued from Hayden Creek were taken to a hatchery near Gunnison, where they were isolated from other subspecies. Some were released in Newlin Creek, near Florence, and this week, 4,500 of their offspring were loaded into a hatchery truck headed for Westcliffe…

The fish, with orange-red splotches on its throat and across its belly, is hardly distinguishable from other cutthroat trout. Yet, the Hayden Creek cutthroat trout are the only fish known to share the genetics of a pair of fish now at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The fish were caught in Twin Lakes, near Leadville, in 1889 by an ichthyologist — the type of zoologist that studies just fish — named David Starr Jordan.

Cutthroat trout historic range via Western Trout

Colorado has three remaining subspecies of cutthroat trout that are native to the state: the greenback, the Colorado River and the Rio Grande. A fourth native cutthroat, the yellowfin, is presumed extinct.

The Hayden Creek cutthroat are part of the Colorado River subspecies, but have genetics unique even from Colorado River cutthroat.

Nehring released his fish one at a time Monday and watched afterward as they darted around in the clear water. Even at 4-inches long, they held their own against the current…

A parks and wildlife team will return in the fall to check on the trout, using electrofishing to catch and measure them. The hope is that they not only will survive, but will begin reproducing in about two years.

They will fill an important niche in the ecosystem, Nehring said. The fish eat mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies and worms, and are food for bears, raccoons and other animals.

#Runoff news: Upper #ColoradoRiver reservoir releases planned to bolster streamflow for #endangered fish #COriver

Katie Creighton and Zach Ahrens both native aquatics biologists for Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) standing on the temporary Matheson screen. The Nature Conservancy and UDWR partnered together to build the structure to allow the endangered razorback sucker larvae to enter the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve without the predators also coming in. Courtesy & Copyright Katie Creighton, Photographer via Utah Public Radio

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

Entities including Front Range water utilities and the Bureau of Reclamation on Friday began coordinating water releases from upstream reservoirs in a voluntary effort to prolong peak runoff flows in what’s called the 15-Mile Reach upstream of the confluence with the Gunnison River. It’s a critical stretch of river for four endangered fish — the humpback chub, razorback sucker, bonytail chub and the Colorado pikeminnow.

River flows at Cameo exceeded 20,000 cubic feet per second Saturday. The coordinated reservoir operations are intended to slow the decline of high flows, sustaining those flows for three to five days this week. The first releases from the coordinated program were expected to arrive Monday night; the flows at Cameo earlier Monday were at 18,900 cfs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Strong flows help remove fine sediment from cobble bars that serve as spawning habitat for the fish, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They also help reconnect the river to backwaters where the fish, especially at the larval stage, can find refuge from the stronger river flows, said Don Anderson, a hydrologist with the agency.

The releases are being made possible by this year’s ample winter snowpack, which means reservoir operators can release reservoir water without risking the ability to fill the reservoirs.

Anderson said that in some years the releases are coordinated with the goal of raising peak flows to beneficial levels, but this year the peak flows were high enough it was decided that the reservoir water instead could be used to prolong those flows.

According to a Fish and Wildlife Service news release, under the coordinated operations:

  • The Bureau of Reclamation is increasing releases at Ruedi Reservoir and Green Mountain Reservoir, with the Green Mountain releases including inflows bypassed by Dillon Reservoir, operated by Denver Water.
  • Denver Water is likely to increase releases from Williams Fork Reservoir.
  • Homestake Reservoir, operated by Colorado Springs Utilities, may participate in the releases after peak flows on the Eagle River recede.
  • The Windy Gap Reservoir and Pump Station, operated by Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, will delay pumping water to Granby Reservoir.
  • The current effort follows reservoir releases by the Bureau of Reclamation earlier this spring on the Gunnison River to boost flows for endangered fish there. In both cases, the efforts are planned in a way intended to keep from resulting in flooding impacts downstream.

    Anderson said the coordinated spring operations on the upper Colorado River started in 1997, and by his count have occurred in 11 years since beginning…

    He said that while the coordinated releases target the 15-Mile Reach, their benefits extend as far as Moab, Utah, improving management of a river floodplain wetlands there that is being used to help in the recovery of razorback suckers.

    Entities including the Colorado River Water Conservation District, Grand Valley Water User Association, Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, Palisade Irrigation District, National Weather Service, Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, Colorado Water Conservation Board, and Xcel Energy also participate in the coordinated reservoir operations effort.

    From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

    The river is flowing so fast right now that people can float the entire 25-mile Ruby-Horsethief stretch in a day — even as few as four or five hours, Baier said. He said his company is running guided one-day trips there right now and he thinks some people are realizing they can float the stretch in a day rather than needing to make reservations for Bureau of Land Management campgrounds.

    In Glenwood Canyon, raft companies currently aren’t running the Shoshone stretch of the Colorado River due to strong flows, as is typical this time of year. Ken Murphy, owner of Glenwood Adventure Co., said that closure might last perhaps a week longer this year than in a normal year. He said the Shoshone rapids have a brand appeal and people want to raft there, but high water provides lots of other good rafting options. Last year, the Roaring Fork River didn’t provide much of a rafting season, but this year is different. While it usually offers good rafting until maybe the first or second week of July, “now we’re going to be on it we hope maybe until August,” Murphy said.

    He said the Roaring Fork offers beautiful scenery away from Interstate 70 and sightings of bald eagles and other wildlife. And rapids that are usually rated Class 2 are currently Class 3.

    “It gives people enough whitewater to get wet but not scare them,” he said.

    Colorado River trips that put in at the Grizzly Creek area of Glenwood Canyon below Shoshone also are heading farther downstream than normal right now, to New Castle, due to the fast-flowing water, Murphy said…

    Murphy said his company also owns Lakota Guides in Vail. He said the Eagle River in Eagle County will be good for rafting for longer this summer due to the big water year, meaning the company can continue offering trips to guests there rather than having to bus them to Glenwood Springs or the upper Arkansas River. He said the Blue River in Summit County also will benefit from a longer boating season.

    Reservoir releases for endangered fish in #ColoradoRiver coming after peak flows — @AspenJournalism #COriver

    A Colorado pikeminnow taken from the Colorado River near Grand Junction, and in the arms of Danielle Tremblay, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife employee. Pikeminnows have been tracked swimming upstream for great distances to spawn in the 15-mile stretch of river between Palisade and Grand Junction. Danielle Tremblay of Colorado Parks and Wildlife holding a Colorado pikeminnow collected on the Colorado River in Grand Junction. An apex predator in the Colorado, pikeminnows used to be found up to six feet long and weighing 100 pounds. Photo credit: Brent Gardner-Smity/Aspen Journalism

    From Aspen Journalism (Brent Gardner-Smith):

    The Colorado River east of Grand Junction in DeBeque Canyon is forecast to hit its annual peak Saturday, in a quick climb to about 21,000 cubic feet of water per second, as measured at the Cameo gage, before dropping over the next week as cooler weather arrives.

    The operators of five upstream reservoirs have been closely watching this season’s large, and late, spring-runoff pattern, and they are now starting a coordinated release of water designed to improve habitat for endangered fish in a 15-mile stretch of the river below Palisade.

    The reservoir releases, which collectively will add about 1,300 cfs of water to the river, are being timed to reach Palisade on Monday or Tuesday, after this weekend’s peak flows have subsided.

    The goal of this year’s coordinated release of water is to extend the high flows, not add to the peak flow, as it is in most years, said Don Anderson, a hydrologist with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, who said care is being taken not to increase the risk of flooding this weekend.

    The releases from Ruedi, Homestake, Wolford, Williams Fork and Green Mountain reservoirs are designed to benefit four ancient species of fish.

    The well-timed higher water will send spawning cues to Colorado pikeminnows, large powerful fish that swim upstream to spawn in the gravel beds of what’s known as “the 15-mile reach.”

    Higher water will give the recent offspring of razorback suckers a chance to find refuge in calm side channels.

    Higher, faster water will scour fine silt from gravel beds, flush away dry-year vegetation growth and help the river absorb nutrients from wet floodplains.

    And the high water will also benefit populations of humpback chubb downstream of Grand Junction — at Blackrocks, in Westwater canyon and near Moab — and may also help the struggling bonytail chubb.

    Managers of Ruedi Reservoir are participating in a voluntary release of water this week to boost flows for endangered fish near Palisade. Releases are also being coordinated from Homestake, Williams Fork, Green Mountain and Wolford reservoirs, but are being timed to come after this weekend’s peak flows. Photo credit Greg Hobbs

    Ruedi releases

    As part of this year’s effort, the outflow from Ruedi Reservoir into the lower Fryingpan
    Reservoir will rise Sunday by 100 cfs, and over three days, the releases will climb from 354 cfs to 630 cfs or above, before stepping back down Wednesday.

    The flow from Rocky Fork Creek, which runs into the Fryingpan below Ruedi Dam, was adding 75 cfs to the river Friday, which means the ’Pan could be 700 cfs or above by Tuesday or Wednesday.

    Tim Miller, a hydrologist at the Bureau of Reclamation, said a flow of about 700 cfs is consistent with most of the other 10 years since 1997 that Ruedi has participated in what is called the Coordinated Reservoir Operations, or CROS, program.

    Miller’s operational goals with this year’s CROS program include keeping outflow from the reservoir below inflow, so he can fill the 102,000 acre-foot reservoir in early July, while keeping flows in the lower Fryingpan below 850 cfs.

    Water from Homestake Reservoir, on Homestake Creek in the Eagle River basin, will be sent this week down the Eagle to the Colorado River to benefit endangered species of fish. Half of Homestake is within Pitkin County’s boundaries, and the water is managed by Aurora and Colorado Springs. Photo credit: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

    Regional effort

    Releases from Homestake Reservoir, which is on Homestake Creek in the Eagle River basin and is managed by Aurora and Colorado Springs, are going to climb in a similar timeframe as Ruedi’s, moving from 6 cfs to 100 cfs Monday and then stepping back down to 6 cfs by week’s end, according to a summary of the expected releases from the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center.

    Releases from Green Mountain Reservoir, which is on the Blue River north of Silverthorne and managed by Reclamation, are slated to rise from 800 cfs to 1,400 cfs and then drop back down.

    Releases from Williams Fork Reservoir, which is on a tributary of the Colorado east of
    Kremmling and managed by Denver Water, will increase from 350 cfs to 650 cfs and then drop.

    And Wolford Reservoir, on Muddy Creek north of Kremmling and managed by the Colorado River District, is currently spilling about 400 cfs of water due to high inflows. The River District regularly participates in the CROS program, but this year is spilling water in any event and not releasing water just for the CROS program as it often does.

    During a series of conference calls over the past several weeks, reservoir managers have
    described this year’s snowpack as “bashful” and “tentative” and “well-behaved” due to colder temperatures in May and June. And while the snow is still deep in the Colorado River’s headwaters, more cool weather is in the forecast.

    And every water manager sounds glad there is at least water this year to run after last year’s deep drought, and most now expect their reservoirs to fill, which gives them flexibility this week to release water for the fish and for the river.

    This year’s high flow — 21,000 cfs, forecast for Saturday — is the opposite of last year, when the Colorado peaked, as measured at the Cameo gage, on May 19 at about 6,800 cfs.