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Old 04-16-2012   #1
Breckenridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 46
Anyone Have a Crystal Ball?

I have talked to friends, boaters, rafters, owners of some of the bigger local companies who have seen the "worsed in decades in 2002" and yet I am hearing this is going to be an "OK" season because of the fact supposedly that most of the reservoirs are at a decent level...

All of this is just "talk" and I am posting this to see what everyone else out there thinks?

I think it will run early... as in the beginning of May and I am guessing it will flatten out by the beginning of June... and I think that is an optimistic out look...

Any thoughts?

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Old 04-16-2012   #2
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 273
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It'll be a bad year; reservoirs don't dictate the flow for most of Colorado's whitewater runs. I was hiking 14ers in my running shoes over a month ago if that says anything.

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Old 04-17-2012   #3
Vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 57
I tend to agree with Kayakier13. As an avid snowboarder with many friends who splitboard the back country of the Front Range, it has been a terrible year and I am hearing the same from Wasatch crew. Very little snowpack and an early spring don't seem to bode well for decent flows even with reservoirs. This year, only the Cascade Range has seen a good snowpack so the rivers up here are flowing great and should through most of the summer.
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Old 04-17-2012   #4
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
From the

Water Supply Outlook Report
April 1, 2012


"Statewide snowpack percentages declined dramatically after a brief boost on March 1, leaving the state with the lowest snowpack percentage reported since 2002 and the second lowest in the entire 45 year historical record. Forecasts for spring and summer streamflow volumes are well below average across the entire state. While many water users may have a feeling of déjà vu remembering conditions in 2002, reservoir storage provides a little optimism going into this runoff season. Most of the state's major river basins are reporting above average reservoir storage with the notable exceptions of the Upper Rio Grande and Arkansas basins. Judicious use of existing supplies will be critical in minimizing impacts and there is always the potential for unexpected late season snowfall and above average spring precipitation to help ease impacts."


"Not since the memorable drought year of 2002, when the state also had an April 1 snowpack that was 52 percent of average, has conditions been this poor. Exacerbating matters is the fact that by this date, nearly 100 percent of the seasonal snowpack has accumulated in an average year."

"Across southern Colorado, some lower elevation sites have already melted out and earlier season melt is even occurring at the higher elevation sites. At current melt rates; many sites will be completely melted out about a month earlier than normal."

Reservoir Storage

"Statewide 2012 storage volumes are slightly above where they were this time last year. Only the Arkansas and Upper Rio Grande basins are reporting volumes less than those reported last year. The Arkansas basin average storage is currently at only 86 percent of average and 95 percent of last year’s amounts. Storage in the Upper Rio Grande basin continues to be the lowest in the state, at only 73 percent of average. Reservoirs in the state are currently at 60 percent of capacity."


"Colorado's water users can anticipate very low streamflow volumes this summer. Due to extremely poor snowpack conditions spring and summer streamflow volumes may approach the minimum volumes on record. Projected inflow into Dillon Reservoir is only 60 percent of average and forecasts elsewhere in the Colorado basin are slightly lower. Clear Creek at Golden is expected to flow at 66 percent of average this season. The forecast for the Cache la Poudre River is only 53 percent of average. The Gunnison River near Gunnison is only expected to see volumes at 45 percent of average. All of these forecasts assume normal precipitation amounts throughout the April to July forecast period. Should the current weather trend continue into spring and summer, these forecasts will continue to decline even further."
GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 04-17-2012   #5
rivermanryan's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 580
My crystal ball is saying about the same for SW Colorado.

Below is a brief reservoir update:
McPhee - Probably won't fill, not good for boating this year or next
Lemon - Likely won't fill, less than a full supply to water users
Vallecito - May just barely fill, not many run below, but should have a season of boatable flows
Navajo - Reservoir lower than desired, but ESA requirements will ensure boatable flows year round.
Animas - Lake Nighthorse full, possibly some minor diversions out of the river later in the year if the water is available to pump. Possibly some minor releases from the reservoir in the late summer/fall.
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Old 04-17-2012   #6
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 808
My crystal ball says the last three weeks of boating have been great. Consider boating for the next month and a half instead of worrying about what will be running in late June.

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