Ark water/ help stop winter releases - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-16-2013   #1
 
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Ark water/ help stop winter releases

Here is a link to Greg Policky's (Colorado Wildlife Biologist) 2012 Fisheries Inventory for the Upper Arkansas Basin:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5xe...it?usp=sharing

There is lots of information in it, but the most pertinent to recreational flows on the Arkansas is contained on pages 5-9.

Basically in this report Policky recommends to the Bureau of Reclamation and the Division of Natural Resources that for optimal Brown Trout growth water calls should be managed so as to move as much excess water over the winter as is possible. The purpose of this is to try and maintain minimal flows in the river during spring and fall.

His recommendation is to allow runoff during the May 16th - June 30th time period. Then to maintain the VFMP at 600 cfs or less at Wellsville until August 15th. Then he recommends all excess water to be moved between November 1st and March 1st. Keeping the flow between 250-350 cfs at Wellsville the remainder of the year.

In my opinion and in the opinions of many other local boaters in the Valley it is a bad idea to move excess water over the winter before you know what the runoff for the next season is going to look like. We saw what happens when all the water has been moved and there is nothing left for Summer..... it's bad for recreation and bad for the local economy.

The Arkansas River Travel Management Plan is up for review in April, and this Winter's Citizen's Task Force meeting was cancelled, essentially eliminating any public comment period on this issue.

Currently arrangements have been made to have Reed Dills from the Southwest Water Board come to the Eddyline Pub in Buena Vista this Tuesday evening to discuss potential impacts of this recommendation with a group of local business owners and private boaters.

Time is still to be determined, but anyone interested in this is welcome to attend.

Logan

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Old 02-16-2013   #2
 
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To quote Lacey Black from AW's May/June issue:

"Without paddlers advocating for river health and recreation, the management decisions will fail to account for those needs."
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Old 02-16-2013   #3
 
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Thanks Logan. I'll be there.
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Old 02-16-2013   #4
 
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So the lesson from last year went unlearned.

Is the impact on the fishery really significant or is this just kowtowing to the fishing community?

-AH
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Old 02-16-2013   #5
 
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It is significant Andy, but IMO there needs to be compromise between fishing and boating. This recommendation looks at things from a strictly wildlife perspective, and now that Colorado Wildlife and Colorado State Parks are one entity recommendations such as these are passed on without public knowledge or input.

There are several graphs and tables in the report showing size and population growth of trout based on these conditions, but it's not like they were dying off in years where we had higher flows in Spring and Fall.... I believe some of the numbers Policky presented in the report are incorrect though too. An example would be fisherman visitation, for his numbers to be accurate there would have to be over 300 fisherman a day, year-round utilizing the Upper Arkansas River....
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Old 02-18-2013   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy H. View Post
So the lesson from last year went unlearned.

Is the impact on the fishery really significant or is this just kowtowing to the fishing community?

-AH
Folks if you have not read the report please read pages 5-8 as if you boat it will have a real impact on flows over the next decade or more.

Andy - IMO it is not really significant for the fish. Wildlife has gone the route of attempting to create a perfect environment for a non native at the expense of recreational river users.

It is to be noted that Wildlife has basically totally taken over Parks in the merger and in turn Wildlife will get what they want. OR we will see lower flows unless boaters/businesses get involved. The scary part is that they want all "winter" water moved by March 1st this allows no time to see if the spring storms will come and is a round about way of eliminating the Flow Program entirely.

Also it is true that the report is flawed as it claims that 100,000 fishermen fished the Ark last year. The real number is closer to 25,000. Also to be noted is that fishermen do not have to pay the same $3 to use the river as you and I do.. The AHRA or Wildlife/Parks only checks boaters for the parks pass. Found this out when I asked that the AHRA count paid parks passes to get a real count of the fishermen. Seems like a double standard to me.

It is also true that Wildlife and parks is attempting to push the Ark to below boatable flows of even 600 at Wellsville for all of the year except from July 1 - Aug 15th. This is accomplished by moving any water that could be used for the flow program in the winter as we have seen in the past few years. In super high storage years like 2008 and 2009 it will not matter but in normal snowpack years the new rules will have a huge impact on keeping flows below 600 cfs for most of the summer...

The Management plan review is starting in April and there might be some headway made to keep the Flow Program on the Ark intact but right now wildlife is doing all they can to ensure on even high storage years like last year that they can almost ensure that there is not enough water for the flow program. Many of these changes were made "under the radar" of private boaters in 2009 and 2010.

Right now and from what I see the private boaters are failing miserably at even getting a message to the AHRA that we want water in shoulder seasons. Please read that again if you boat the Ark and let it sink in.

Logan plugging away by himself at this will get no where. It seems that the only time private boaters want to get involved with water is in the yearly knee jerk reaction 2 days before Paddle Fest when the question of "cant someone turn on the water" get thrown around.

I am pleading with all private boaters to get involved and voice you opinion to both the AHRA and the private boater reps to the Citizens Task Force.

So let the private boater Reps know or at least give some support in this thread or directly to the AHRA that you want enough water in the Arkansas to float and give the message that you do not support Wildlife/Parks eroding away the foundation of the flow program on the Arkansas River.
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Old 02-18-2013   #7
 
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Thanks Nek.

Are we still trying to get together tomorrow evening to get people on the same page with this issue?

I was kinda hoping to get a better response from the Buzz community on this. As Jahvea stated everyone will be asking about flows in a couple months.... lets put in the work to make sure we continue to have adequate releases for floating in the boating season.
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Old 02-18-2013   #8
 
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Here is the contact info for your Citizen's Task Force Private Boater Representatives:


[email protected]
James McGee, Private Boaters




[email protected]
Leslie Tyson, Private Boaters


Please let them know how important recreational flows are to you.
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Old 02-18-2013   #9
 
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I can't come to the meeting since I'm working and it is a 6 hour round-trip drive for me, BUT I'll be happy to write a letter voicing my concerns as a regular summer river visitor. Actually I believe I already did this at the end of last season. There was a link where we could leave input..... I believe it was AHRA???? Is there someone else I should be writing?

I would think that all the rafting companies along the ARK, as well as CKS would have quite a bit of pull in this due to the revenue they bring the county in the summer. Hopefully they are all aware of this and making a presence?

We stopped by one of the fly fishing stores in BV this summer and the owner said the fish were suffering due to high water temps caused by the low flows. If the fishermen are even unhappy with this water plan, it really puzzles me why we are even having this fight. It seems like common sense! Perhaps if you could get some of the fishing business to confirm that we really do need to guarantee certain flows for the fish during the late summer as well, and that holding water until we know the snowpack is the only way to do this, maybe they'll listen to them???? If all they care about is the fishing, then maybe they'll listen to their own?
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Old 02-18-2013   #10
 
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I think there was potential concern over high water temps in the river this summer, but we got rain right when we needed it. I only heard about 1-2 days where the water got warm enough to start killing fish.... and actually by Pollicky's report it showed the "biggest gains" in fish size and population last year in over a decade.

I don't know how much influence Rob White actually has on the BOR and DNR's decision making process, but it can't hurt to have private recreational boaters let him know how important the water is to them. It's probably also a good thing to write an email to your private boater reps urging them to publicly express disapproval of moving water over the winter.

Most raft companies are aware of this recommendation, but I think many are in denial that it's happening as we speak. Heck, they already moved a bunch of water last winter, and then there wasn't enough storage left to augment recreation... if the private boaters get involved than many more people will realize the seriousness of the situation.

Here is a contact form for the AHRA:

http://www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/A...kComments.aspx

a good place to express concern as well.
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