Hey all -
Let me apologize for the long post in advance.
I'm excited to be able to help continue Dan's great work keeping us apprised of Roberts Tunnel releases and I'm looking forward to getting to know the other stakeholders out there who also care about issues on the South Platte. I'll be attending a DWB meeting on the SP next week and should get to meet some of the other folks involved and learn their interests in the river. Initially, I want to get familiar with the workings of things and the other players before I make any proposals. This certainly includes CWWA, which I imagine already has some interaction with the DWB that I can learn from. From what I understand, there is at least one other person in touch with Denver Water, so letís be clear that I am not the voice of Colorado boaters to the DWB, just a voice.
In terms of ideas, I want to open the floor for people to comment on any issue about the SP that they have thoughts on. My personal passion is to see structured releases on the river, so that boating opportunities are maximized and our season extended. But I want to hear what other issues the Buzz is interested in regarding the South Platte as well.
Regarding the idea of structured releases, two points to start: First, if this happens, I donít expect that it would happen this season, so donít get excited Ė especially since EPA issues could torpedo the whole idea and we donít know if that is the case yet. Second, what I would like to propose is not a scheduled release, but a structured release Ė that is, we would not be guaranteed any amount of water, but if there is water released, it would be released in a manner structured to maximize recreational opportunities. Ideally, the DWB could consult a chart showing call amounts and then release structures that maximize recreation for each call.
For instance, if Denver calls down 100 cfs for a day, that is too little for even the worst mank-hounds I know. But if Denver Water released 50 cfs for 20 hours and 350 for 4 hours, the net water into Strontia Springs Reservoir is the same at the end of the day. Add in a little natural flow, and youíve got a great off-season run. Or try this: last March and November, flows were around 50-65 cfs at Pine. On a call for 60 cfs, a structured release could send down 20 hours of 30 cfs and 4 hours of 210 cfs. Structured releases could mean that Baileyís season is limited only by ice. You can play with the numbers and times and different peak flows, but the idea remains the same.
The idea of course goes beyond Bailey to Foxton and Waterton (Union and Confluence maybe?). It could also apply to the South Fork, and extend the season in Cheeseman (above and below the lake), Deckers and potentially even Elevenmile. I know very little about the reservoir system that feeds the South Fork, as Iíve only paddled it once, when Elevenmile ran in í02. (For a little more info on the NF, see: Bailey/ Foxton update 4/7
Here is what I would like to ask of the Buzz:
* What do you think of this idea - do you like it?
* If you like it, what would you like to see in it Ė what is most important to you? Higher peak levels? Variation in peak levels? Time of day for the peak to hit your favorite section of the river Ė morning, mid-day, evening?
* How much time do you think should be available to run Bailey at what levels? Iíve done it in two and done it in five, so there is a lot of play in there.
* Are any of you fishermen? How will this idea be perceived by our friends on shore? I donít fish and donít know if there are turbidity or other issues (I think the low flows are better for fishing, so this could be great for them, but I donít know for sure.)
* I know very little about environmental law Ė does anyone know of EPA issues that could pose a problem?
If you want to talk about it, PM me with your number and Iíll call you. Looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish...