Lower Blue at flood stage
Aspen, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY – Recent warm temperatures have boosted runoff in the Blue River Basin, leading to the highest flows in 10 years in the Blue River below Green Mountain Reservoir.
This week, the Bureau of Reclamation ramped up from Green Mountain Reservoir from about 1,800 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 2,700 cfs, just above the 2,600-cfs flood threshold for the river.
Water managers with the Bureau of Reclamation are warning anglers and boaters that high flows could persist for a week, or until inflows subside.
Water levels in the Lower Blue haven’t been that high since 1997, when flows reached 3,200 cfs, and 1995, when releases from Green Mountain Reservoir exceeded.
And with Green Mountain’s junior refill call satisfied, the Blue River above the reservoir is now a “free” river, with all upstream users free to divert water for irrigation.
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The Roaring Fork Valley has, by-and-large, avoided the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle infestations that have decimated parts of the state. However, a 2019 aerial survey showed the Roaring Fork watershed has an outbreak of Douglas-fir and western balsam beetles.