Aspen’s Roaring Fork River will see water level surge next week
The water level in the Roaring Fork River is expected to rise significantly by the middle of next week as water diversions to Twin Lakes Reservoir are halted, officials said Thursday.
The reservoir is expected to fill between Tuesday and Thursday, according to Twin Lakes Canal Co. general manager Bruce Hughes.
“The 625 (cubic feet per second) that is normally diverted to Twin Lakes will be sent down the Roaring Fork, adding to its already peak runoff flow for at least two to three weeks,” Hughes said in a statement. “This isn’t something we need to do every year but it’s the third year in a row that we’ve had to do it.”
The flow on the upper Roaring Fork River was at 362 cfs this week. It is expected to surge to about 1,000 cfs next week. Flooding on the North Star Nature Preserve east of Aspen is expected.
“We just want recreationalists and property owners along the river to be aware that there will be a dramatic increase in the river level next week when the diversions to Twin Lakes are discontinued,” said Valerie MacDonald, Pitkin County emergency manager. “Our Incident Management Team is keeping an eye on the weather and river levels and will alert the public if we anticipate any significant flooding.”
Meanwhile, releases from Ruedi Reservoir dam were increased this week as part of the Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program. Releases from several reservoirs are coordinated to create beneficial flushing of the Colorado River channel and minor flooding.
Releases on Ruedi were cranked up from about 180 to 600 cfs. That sent water levels surging on the lower Fryingpan River and on the Roaring Fork below the confluence.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees Ruedi Reservoir dam, informed Pitkin County it will dial back releases to 265 cfs by Sunday.
MacDonald said that decreases the chances for flooding at and below the confluence of the rivers.
Ruedi Reservoir is currently about 80 percent full and is expected to be filled by early July.
Officials also are asking residents and visitors to take caution around rivers and streams during peak runoff.
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