Gunnison Gorge High Water - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1
 
Montrose, Colorado
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 77
Gunnison Gorge High Water

Over the next couple of weeks flows through the Black Canyon and Gunnison Gorge could reach 11,000 cfs. This is higher water than what we've seen since the mid-1980s.



Update from the Bureau of Reclamation:

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION

ASPINALL UNIT SPRING OPERATIONS

May 11, 2017


The May 1st forecast for the April July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir is 850,000 acre-feet. This is 126% of the 30 year average. Snowpack in the Upper Gunnison Basin peaked at 138% of average. Blue Mesa Reservoir current content is 679,000 acre-feet which is 82% of full. Current elevation is 7502.1 ft. Maximum content at Blue Mesa Reservoir is 829,500 acre-feet at an elevation of 7519.4 ft.

Based on the May 1st forecast, the Black Canyon Water Right and Aspinall Unit ROD peak flow targets are listed below:

Black Canyon Water Right
The peak flow target will be equal to 6,427 cfs for a duration of 24 hours.
The shoulder flow target will be 831 cfs, for the period between May 1 and July 25.

Aspinall Unit Operations ROD
The year type is currently classified as Moderately Wet.
The peak flow target will be 14,350 cfs and the duration target at this flow will be 10 days.
The half bankfull target will be 8,070 cfs and the duration target at this flow will be 40 days.

Projected Operations
Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations ROD, releases from the Aspinall Unit will be made in an attempt to match the peak flow of the North Fork of the Gunnison River to maximize the potential of meeting the desired peak at the Whitewater gage, while simultaneously meeting the Black Canyon Water Right peak flow amount. The latest forecast for flows on the North Fork of the Gunnison River keeps river flows below their projected peak flow level for the 10 day forecast period. Warmer weather and higher flows are forecast to return by the weekend of May 20th.

Therefore, ramp up for the spring peak operation will begin on Sunday, May 14th, with the intent of timing releases with this potential higher flow period on the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Releases from Crystal Dam will be ramped up according to the guidelines specified in the EIS, with 2 release changes per day, until Crystal begins to spill. The daily release schedule for Crystal Dam is:

Inline image 1 (see attachment)

Crystal Dam will be at full powerplant and bypass release by May 17. Crystal Reservoir will begin spilling by May 18, and the peak release from Crystal Dam should be reached on May 23. The flows in the Gunnison River after that date will be dependent on the timing of the spill and the level of tributary flow contribution. Estimates of those numbers will be determined in the upcoming days.

The current projection for spring peak operations shows flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon between 10,800 cfs and 11,200 cfs for 10 days in order to achieve the target peak flow and duration at Whitewater. Actual flows will be dependent on the downstream contribution of the North Fork of the Gunnison River and other tributaries. Higher tributary flows will lead to lower releases from the Aspinall Unit and vice versa.

Crystal Dam releases and Gunnison River flows after May 23rd will be determined when the mid-May inflow forecast is issued. There is a possibility that the mid-May inflow forecast will result in a change to the Aspinall Unit ROD targets, if the forecast drops into the Average Wet category. Once the official mid-month forecast is released, the ROD targets will be adjusted as necessary, and the releases from Crystal Dam and the flows in the Gunnison River will be determined.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
 
GJ, Colorado
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Jeebus.

Anyone been in there at those flows, and can share what it's like?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #3
 
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Well, the view from the poison ivy portage will be awe inspiring. IF you could get there!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #4
 
placerville, Colorado
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calendar marked. I've only seen 8k, can't wait for 11+!!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
 
Montrose, Colorado
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 77
Updated info on the high water

Update on spring operations from the Bureau of Reclamation (5/17/2017):


BUREAU OF RECLAMATION

ASPINALL UNIT SPRING OPERATIONS

May 17, 2017


The May 15th forecast for the April July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir is 825,000 acre-feet. This is 122% of the 30 year average. Snowpack in the Upper Gunnison Basin peaked at 138% of average. Blue Mesa Reservoir current content is 720,000 acre-feet which is 87% of full. Current elevation is 7507.0 ft. Maximum content at Blue Mesa Reservoir is 829,500 acre-feet at an elevation of 7519.4 ft.

Based on the May 1st forecast, the Black Canyon Water Right peak flow target is listed below:

Black Canyon Water Right
The peak flow target will be equal to 6,427 cfs for a duration of 24 hours.
The shoulder flow target will be 831 cfs, for the period between May 1 and July 25.

The May 15th forecast of 825,000 af is now in the Average Wet category and the Aspinall Unit ROD flow targets have changed. Based on the May 15th forecast, the flow targets are listed below:

Aspinall Unit Operations ROD
The year type is currently classified as Average Wet.
The peak flow target will be 14,040 cfs and the duration target at this flow will be 2 days.
The half bankfull target will be 8,070 cfs and the duration target at this flow will be 20 days.

The ramp up for the spring peak operation began on Sunday, May 14th. Releases from Crystal Dam will be increasing through May 23, following the schedule below:

Inline image 1 (see attachment)

Crystal Dam will be at full powerplant and bypass release on May 17th. Crystal Reservoir will begin spilling by May 18th and the peak release from Crystal Dam should be reached on May 23rd or May 24th. It is expected that flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will be in the 10,800 cfs to 12,000 cfs range during the peak flow period. Actual flows will be dependent on the downstream contribution of the North Fork of the Gunnison River and other tributaries. Higher tributary flows will lead to lower releases from the Aspinall Unit and vice versa.

Ramping down from the peak flow period is expected to begin by the weekend of May 27th. After the peak flow period, flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are expected to be in the 5,000 cfs to 5,500 cfs range while meeting the half bankfull targets of 8,070 cfs in the lower Gunnison River as measured at the Whitewater gage. These projected flows could vary from this range if tributary flows to the mainstem Gunnison River are higher or lower than current estimates.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 168
Kayaked over 10 once.

I remember big and pushy water where you would expect it with most sneaks on the right. I do remember a rather epic ledge hole forming in boulder garden I think. I discovered too late the best run was right at that one but somehow managed to escape, which was fortunate since the rest of my group was nowhere in sight. If I remember, everything else was pretty much read and run. I would not class it at 3 at that level like many folks do when its lower. Also, consequences can be severe and rescue delayed.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
 
Montrose, Colorado
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 77
Basically, we can expect to see the same timeline on ramping up, and the same magnitude of release (around 11,000 cfs), but instead of maintaining that release for 10 days as originally planned, the highest water will probably last for 2 days instead.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Admin Note - Duplicate posts moved and merged. Now it's just one thread for everyone.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #9
willpaddle4food
 
Fruita, Colorado
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gunny gorge hi water

Well....I have a lightweight solo cat I could get down the chukar trail in two miserable trips. Anybody up for this weekend?
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Old 3 Days Ago   #10
 
Montrose, Colorado
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 77
New info on the high water release

The gauge at "Gunnison River Below Tunnel" is now (1:50 PM, 5/24/2017) reading 11,600 cfs. If accurate, it's the highest flow that Gunnison Gorge and Black Canyon have seen since before the Aspinall Unit dams went in.

I just got off the phone with Reclamation, and their plan is to hold this level probably through the weekend if the lake level in Blue Mesa can continue to deliver that volume.
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