Gunnison flows to increase in response to hot weather, higher demands

Anglers headed to the Gunnison River later this week should expect higher flows, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

A Bureau hydrologist said Tuesday releases from Crystal Dam and through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River and the Gunnison Gorge are expected to rise in response to increased downstream demands for water.

Those demands from irrigators and the end of runoff means flows in the Gunnison River will need to be boosted above the current 1,600 cubic feet per second being released from Crystal Dam, said hydrologist Dan Crabtree Tuesday.

“We anticipate another 100 cfs increase later this week, the timing of which is yet to be determined,” said Crabtree, lead hydrologist in the Bureau’s Grand Junction office. “But we wanted to give fishermen and other canyon recreationists ample warning so as not to strand or surprise someone as flows reach ‘un-wadeable’ levels.”

Flows through the Black Canyon and the Gunnison Gorge as of Tuesday were around 600 cfs, a level most anglers feel comfortable wading. However, an unexpected increase could strand anglers on the wrong side of the river.

The releases and flows are dictated by downstream demands, explained Crabtree, particularly the 900 cfs flow targeted for Whitewater upstream of Grand Junction.

Crabtree said more information will be available as soon as the timing for the increases is determined.

Wildfire threat closes Lory State Park, Bellvue-Watson hatchery – Colorado Parks and Wildlife has closed and evacuated Lory State Park and the Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery due to the uncontained High Park wildfire burning in Larimer County near Fort Collins. Also, Larimer County Park Deparstment has closed Horsetooth Reservoir west of Fort Collins.

Lory State Park, a 2,600-acre facility, was evacuated Saturday and all the moveable equipment was relocated to Boyd Lake State Park, said park manager Larry Butterfield.

Larry Butterfield announced Monday that the fire had reached the park and spot fires have been seen in the neighborhood adjacent to the park.

Bellvue-Watson Hatchery and the research hatchery are still intact. However, the fire is very close to the property boundaries, officials said.

Monday night the fire was reported to have grown to more than 41,000 acres and zero percent contained.

A U.S. Forest Service investigator has confirmed the fire began with a lightning strike early Saturday morning. Since then, it has burned more than 41,000 acres and damaged or destroyed more than 100 structures.


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