Lower flows on Gunnison River benefit recreational users as well as fisheries studies
With the power plant at Crystal Dam operating at full capacity (approximately 2,100 cubic feet per second) all summer, Blue Mesa Reservoir has dropped to 86 percent full, allowing the Bureau of Reclamation to conserve reservoir space and reduce flows into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
As of Monday, releases from Crystal Reservoir have been reduced by 100 cfs each day through Thursday, resulting in flows through the Black Canyon and Gunnison Gorge of 700 to 800 cfs.
An additional flow reduction of 100 cfs could happen next week, the Bureau reported, should water conditions make it necessary. Flows are expected to average around 600 cfs for September through November.
The lower flows will provide better flows for recreational users as well as fisheries studies by the Colorado Division of Wildlife set for late September. The flows also will ameliorate the brown trout spawn from mid-October through mid-November.
More reservoir storage also will allow higher power-production releases during the winter.