Ark flows - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-16-2005   #1
pnw, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Ark flows

I really expected the Ark to stay strong into July this year. We had good snow pack, the weather stayed cool for the most part, the peak never went over 2500 at Parkdale. I thought all of these factors would add up to a longer season this year but it appears that even though the weather has warmed up the flows are still decreasing so I am assuming we are on the downhill slide. Is this pretty much the average time for the runoff to end?

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Old 06-16-2005   #2
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Time to get out the deprssion meds . It seems to be over but as you pointed out the math does'nt work. oh well thats why we all have a small boat in the garage. sj
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Old 06-16-2005   #3
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Could it be that they are filling reservoirs and diversions and that there will be another ramp up next month, when I head down there?
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Old 06-16-2005   #4
Denver, Colorado
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It has everything to do with 2" of new snow in Leadville as of Monday morning. 3 days of warmth is bringing up the levels...slowly.

The creeks that feed the Ark are on the rise again, so expected more water....hopefully!
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Old 06-16-2005   #5
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How reliable are the snowpack graphs found in the flows section of mountainbuzz? I have been looking at the SNOTEL Arkansas River Basin Snowpack graph all season long.

According to the graph nearly all of the snow has melted. Because of this I was expecting amazing flows on the Ark. What happened? Is all this water being held back by Twin Lakes? I have given up on trying to predict the river levels. There are too many variables.
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Old 06-16-2005   #6
Join Date: May 2004
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The snow depth reports aren't reliable anymore.

With this warm up, I expect flows will go up quite a bit. Don't give up hope.

Things could be really nice for Fibark.
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Old 06-16-2005   #7
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
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DavidCrocket - Snowpack on the Ark, based on Snotel was actually below the average for the classic runs (I think it is 10 year average). Overall, I think the basin peaked in the 130% range this year, but a lot of that was on Pikes Peak, Sangres and Wet Mountains. The last I did the calculations the snotel sites that feed anything above the Royal Gorge were 94% of average. The hot week in May brought a lot down and the winds have probably evaporated some, but I think you've seen the peak this year and unfortunately we're at the mercy of water laws and releases.
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Old 06-16-2005   #8
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I did some schooling in water managment and snow hydrology in college and I have some personal theories on this. First there is still snow up there waiting to come down. The cold weather has frozen up alot of the pack and higher flows will be coming with that. If you remember the big heat wave around Mem Day (where there was flooding all over the state) this heat wave spooked alot of dam managers. Alot of the managers were releasing (especially on the Ark) in preperation of BIG flows, thinking they would fill fast. Nearly right after that things froze up again and allowed the managers to fill in a slow and steady fashion, which they are still doing. Now depending on the res levels this next heat wave (perfetcly timed for Fibark) could fill the dams and they might spill soon, but they have probably already started diverting which will not help the flows. This kind of sucks since we will miss a big peak for the year but since the dam managers have had time to plan and fill we will probably see a longer season. In short we have had one peak will have another for the next week (hopefully more) then 1000 cfs in browns through july. This is all simply an educated guess on my part but I have been guiding down there for a while and I am a total nerd about this stuff. Rember to do your part and dont water your lawn (especially in Aurora) and buy all of the Rocky ford Mellons you can get (cause the dams have to release for the farmers down there). Feel free to flame this and give your predictions but remember to pray for rain (last year showed it can help).
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Old 06-17-2005   #9
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Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
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I heard on the (Vail) radio river report that the Ark will be coming back up at some point over the next couple of weeks. Darryl (Lakota Guides) said he would tell us next time why. Anyways, I think it has to do with dam releases, reseviors, etc.
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Old 06-17-2005   #10
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Check the hydrographs (above Granite and #1). Right now it's ~80% release and 20% natural flow. big steps (up and down) indicate dam release. Who knows the hows and whys.
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