High tide provides high times for Colorado River | AspenTimes.com

High tide provides high times for Colorado River

Scott Willoughby
The Denver Post

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — By local assessment, high tide on the Colorado River arrived last weekend. Aided by upstream reservoir releases designed to benefit the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, the river churned its way downstream at levels few had anticipated as recently as a month ago.

The high, rapid flows did little for the sport fishing over the past week, although a good flush of the sediment prone to gathering on the river bottom is sure to enhance the fishery overall. And while the four endangered fish species —humpback chub, razorback sucker, bonytail chub and Colorado pikeminnow — that make their living downstream near Grand Junction were the named beneficiaries of the coordinated releases sending a surge of 4.5 billion gallons a day into the Colorado River, it may be the diminishing reservoirs at Lake Powell and Lake Mead that ultimately benefited most.

Inflow at Lake Powell in Utah increased from 35 percent of normal to 70 percent of normal for the month of May, according to Colorado River District manager Eric Kuhn. Along the way, whitewater addicts in Colorado hopped on for the ride.

With the annual GoPro Mountain Games taking place along the smaller upstream tributary of Gore Creek in Vail, hordes of expert and professional kayakers, stand-up paddlers and river surfers made their way down Interstate 70 to the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park for what many believe was the Colorado’s peak river flow for 2015. Flows hovered just above 16,000 cubic feet per second below the confluence with the Roaring Fork River, creating a rideable standing wave surrounded by thunderous whitewater.

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