Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-19-2010   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
South Platte Annual Meeting Info

I attending the annual South Platte Protection Plan meeting today hosted by Denver Water. I'm taking over the informal task of getting updates from Denver Water on water releases for kayakers that Caspian (Steve) has passed over to me. Thanks to Steve for a good effort over the last couple of years.

Dave Bennet from Denver Water discussed the current water supply situation. The South Platte watershed had below average snowpack for much of the winter. Late snows combined with cool spring weather have kept the snowpack growing and at this point the South Platte watershed is 121% of average for this time of year and Denver Water's reservoirs on the South Platte are full. The 121% of average snowpack at this time really means that runoff is late in coming as average snowpack at this point is already well on the decline. Peak inches of snow water equivalent accumulated this year were below average peak. Late runoff could bode well for a decent runoff season though as we have a good amount of snow coming into the the normal runoff period.

The water supply situation on the main stem of the South Platte means that Denver Water might not need roberts tunnel water until mid June or later. At this point, Denver Water is forecasting relatively low needs for Roberts Tunnel water diversions.

The following flows were forecast average monthly flows for Roberts Tunnel
May - 68 cfs (been less than this due to precip)
June - 107 cfs
July - 238 cfs
Aug - 204 cfs
Sept - 133 cfs
Oct - 132 cfs

Roberts Tunnel will be shut off this coming winter starting sometime in Nov/Dec for several months to do maintenance. This shouldn't impact boating, but there are concerns about the private fishery impact.

I'll be in contact with Denver Water throughout the season and shoot for weekly updates for flow forecasts when Roberts Tunnel starts to kick on. For now, look for native runoff on the north fork of the south platte, and look for the reservoirs on the main stem to start bypassing runoff when it starts.

Have a great season!

deepsouthpaddler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2010   #2
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448

DanOrion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2010   #3
thecraw's Avatar
Boulder, Jackson Kayak, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 911
Send a message via Skype™ to thecraw
Bummer, but very thorough there Ian! Good write-up.

Thanks for being the new go-to-dude for the Bailey 411..
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. But rather...To skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... WOW !!!! What a ride!!!!!!"
thecraw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2010   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 129
Thanks alot Ian for taking this on! Would be awsome if sometime in our lifetimes we could get some recreational releases. What a drag when it's running in the low 200's for weeks and nothing else is running.
vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2010   #5
oh yeah
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 535
thanks ian. dave's a great guy with an interest in making this project work for all interested parties (kayaking, fishing, etc.) recreational releases would be sweet but it sounds like that's pretty far off. first they need to automate the tunnel. currently someone has to manually open or close the gate in granite.
danger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2010   #6
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 129
I'll volunteer for that possition
vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2010   #7
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
I'm gonna talk to Denver Water about recreational release opportunities. I've done a thorough study of the plumbing, historical flow rates, water supply, snowpack, min flows, and other boundary conditions (ramp up rates etc).

Kayakers dream of rec flows at all times on bailey, or double the flows during the day and cut it at night, and I agree those are a pipe dream.

What I think is feasible, and what I plan to work for is to start with a single day or weekend scheduled release in july/aug time frame when natural runoff is on the way out and a great bailey / foxton weekend would serve boaters well. Start off small, with something not too difficult for Denver Water, and see where it goes.

My analysis is that Denver Water usually has a couple hundred cfs coming from the tunnel and a couple hundred from the mainstem for weeks on end. My proposal is to bump roberts up for weekend, while reducing main stem flows so that the north fork has good boatable flows, but that the net water going into strontia res (waterton canyon) is the same to meet the daily metro needs. After the weekend of releases, the tunnel could be cut back for a week or two, and the main stem could be increased to compensate and the net water pulled from dillon and the main stem reservoirs would not change from normal operations.

The south platte protection plan has identified whitewater as an issue worthy of consideration, and they even have min boatable flows (200) and an optimum flow range (300-500) put on their charts, but it seems to me that they really don't manage the flows in any way to enhance whitewater recreation. On the other hand, they do have significant operational management of things like water temperature to optimize fish habitat etc.

My two cents is that if they identified whitewater recreation as valuable, its not unreasonable to try and manage the flows to benefit it, as long as all the other boundary conditions (metro water needs, water calls, fish issues, reservoir management, dillon/tunnel operations) are met. After I dumped all the flow data in to spreadsheets, it was pretty obvious to me that whitewater flows would be fairly easy to manage and plan if there was a will to do so.

When I talked to Steve about requests for flows in the past, he noted that they had discussed many different options on how to manage tunnel flows, but that he never thought of managing the tunnel while balancing the main stem flows to make it all work out. The plan I have could be implemented with the same once a day tunnel output changes and rampup rate limits.

Anyway, its worthy of pursuing, even if it doesn't come to fruition in the near term. Even if it takes a long time, or never happens, I'm going to try to see what we can get done.

My long term vision is to get a handful of recreational releases in july-sept when natural runoff is done, and boaters are still looking for water. Think bailey weekend in july, big south weekend in aug, big thompson weekend in september... Certaintly would be nice...
deepsouthpaddler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2010   #8
Roy's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 682
Nice Ian!

But you might want to tell them to bump up that ceiling on "optimum flow ranges" for boating. Or maybe just get rid of it all together...

I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied...learn to swim!
Roy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2010   #9
jonny water's Avatar
Geologist, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 583
Incredible effort Ian!
jonny water is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2010   #10
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
I agree Roy, the optimum range they quoted seemed closer to a minimum to me. Not sure how it was originally put together.

For proposed flows for a rec relase, my thought was that 500 would be good. Might be hard pressed to get more than 500 and still be within the metro water daily needs. From what I understand, strontia has about a days capacity, and they try to match the flow into strontia with what metro daily needs are. If we requested flows in excess of daily needs, that would be "wasting water". My thought its max out the release, while still being within metro water needs, and still honoring minimul streamflow and temp requirements for both forks of the river.

deepsouthpaddler is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1st Annual Animas River Safety Meeting iliketohike Whitewater Kayaking 6 04-19-2010 09:27 PM
South Platte Protection Plan - 2009 Annual Meeting Caspian Whitewater Kayaking 0 05-07-2009 09:42 PM
2008 South Platte Protection Plan Annual Meeting Caspian Whitewater Kayaking 2 05-15-2008 07:08 AM
Looking for South Platte pollution info DH Whitewater Kayaking 4 07-13-2004 02:24 AM
park info: Golden, Arkansas, South Platte???? deepsouthpaddler Whitewater Kayaking 1 06-07-2004 12:14 AM

» Classified Ads
Dagger Mamba Creeker 8.1

posted by rjskibum

2014-Dagger Mamba Creeker 8.1 Purchased July 2014 from...

Immersion Research...

posted by jasons

2014 IR supermodel drysuit. I'm 5'10", 150lbs and figure...

Jackson SuperStar

posted by bodhizafa

Jackson Superstar kayak, black color. In ok condition. ...

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:25 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.