San Luis Valley reservoir to see dam repairs

Colorado Parks and Wildlife will start a two-year construction project this summer to repair the dam at Beaver Creek Reservoir, located about 5 miles south of South Fork in the San Luis Valley.

A Parks and Wildlife spokesman said the 4,400-acre-foot reservoir will be re-filled by summer of 2015 if the repair work is successful.

Fishing at the reservoir will be allowed this summer but the work will require completely draining the reservoir in 2014.

No fish have been stocked at the reservoir since 2011, but it’s reported the reservoir still holds plenty of kokanee, brown trout and rainbow trout.

Because of the low water level, access requires walking down the steep-sided slopes of the reservoir.

Stocking of fish will resume in 2015. Two U.S. Forest Service campgrounds near the reservoir will remain open during construction. 

Problems with the 100-year-old dam structure were discovered in 2010. Since then the reservoir has been drawn down to about half of its capacity. The reservoir is owned by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the water is used for irrigation, fishing recreation and to maintain wildlife habitat.

Because it sits high in the Rio Grande River drainage, the reservoir also plays a major role in overall water management in the San Luis Valley.

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife works closely with other water entities throughout the valley and Beaver Creek Reservoir is an important link in the overall system,” said Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager in Monte Vista.

The first phase of the project, rebuilding the spillway, will begin in July and is expected to be complete by December.
Phase two is planned to start in April 2014 and will include building a new abutment support for the dam, improvements to the outlet tunnel and a building to house equipment. That work is planned for completion by early winter 2014.
The estimated cost for the project is about $15 million.


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