Water leak explored at Basalt’s Lake Christine | AspenTimes.com

Water leak explored at Basalt’s Lake Christine

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
The water level was lowered by four feet in Lake Christine outside of Basalt so that Colorado Parks and Wildlife can find the source of a leak.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

The water level in Lake Christine outside of Basalt was lowered by 4 feet recently so that Colorado Parks and Wildlife can determine the source of a leak that saturated a hillside and triggered a mudslide in April.

Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will said a hillside beneath the reservoir and its dam got saturated the weekend of April 18 and 19. Mud sloughed onto Two Rivers Road and had to be cleared by the town of Basalt.

Engineers for the state agency ordered the water level lowered so it can be determined if the water is coming from the reservoir or from natural springs in the area. It is suspected that the lower water level would rule out Lake Christine as the source, Will said. That would point to a natural spring or springs. The water level will be left lower for a week for the test and longer if the reservoir is the source of the problem.

Lake Christine has been besieged with problems in the past 15 years. A culvert that releases water from the reservoir got clogged in 2000. Water overtopped and damaged the dam. Mud and cottonwood trees flowed onto Two Rivers Road when the small dam was breached.

Lake Christine was more of a wetlands than a lake until 2008, when the Division of Wildlife, which morphed into Colorado Parks and Wildlife, approved $1.8 million to fix the dam, create a new spillway, dredge the lake and expand its boundaries. The surface of the lake was increased by about 1 acre. A grand reopening was held to celebrate the new and improved Lake Christine in June 2008.

Will said the dam has been ruled out as the source of the water that saturated the hillside. His hope is that the water level can be raised in the lake.

“It’s not too aesthetically pleasing now,” he said.