no more Byers or Fraser, and a lot less Gore - Mountain Buzz

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Old 09-29-2008   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 418
no more Byers or Fraser, and a lot less Gore

Currently 60% of Grand County water is diverted to the front range, leaving only 40% of natural flows in the Fraser river and upper Colorado river through Byers canyon.

The Windy Gap Firming Project, which is soon to take effect, will remove another 50% of what is left from Byers and the Moffat Firming Project, will remove another 50% of what is left in the Fraser. This will result in only 20% natural flows for these rivers. The extra water will be removed during peak flows, which will essentially render the Fraser unrunnable, and will likely render Byers canyon unrunnable many years as well. As if we really need a shorter season up here!!!

This will have a great impact on Gore and Pumphouse as well. I know it is hard to imagine this year, with the plethora of water comming from the Blue river. Indeed, Gore has had a long season, and been anoyingly high for most people this year. But this is not a typical year! We seldom see these kind of flows from the Blue, and usually the Colorado flows matter much more, especially for early season Gore runs.

If you have ever, or think you may ever, like to paddle the Fraser river or Byers Canyon, or early season Pumphouse or Gore runs then NOW is the time to voice your concerns. There will be 2 upcomming meetings - one is tomorrow, Tuesday, September 30th at 6:30 p.m. at the Old Church in Fraser. This meeting is hosted by the Colorado Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The fishermen are concerned since the lower flows will kill the fish, but there are few if any boaters fighting for our rivers.

There will also be a Public Comment meeting at the Silver Creek Inn on Oct. 9 at 7:00 p.m. This is our LAST CHANCE to voice our concerns.

If you can't make any of the meetings, please write to Will Tully, US Bureau of Reclamation, Eastern Colorado Area Office, 11056 W. County Rd. 18E, Loveland, CO, 80537-9711 or email him at:

[email protected]

more info:

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Old 09-29-2008   #2
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 509
If you've never hit Byers at high water, you don't know what you're missing! Nothing like giggling for a mile straight.
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Old 09-30-2008   #3
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Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
I with mjpowhound.... just beautiful flowing tongues through crashing waves sweet mini boofs and troublesome falls is awsome. the mini gore rapid. it is the perfect 2 part run to a gore day!
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Old 09-30-2008   #4
SW, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 131
E-mail sent.

Thanks for the heads-up.
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Old 10-01-2008   #5
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,388
Yeah they already killed the Williams Fork with diversions to W.Fk.Clear Creek,not altogether bad.Does Wllms.Fk. flow into the Colorado above or below Windy Gap?Did anybody get on it with this year's high flows?I ran some 3 ish wood infested part of it a couple times 10 years ago surprised at the size of the streambed it was more a small river than creek.The old Wheat book and that wall map say a class 4 canyon is just above the res. anybody done that?We hiked way up in the headwaters above the mine once ,looked like possible carry in hair if it had water.Always wanted to do Fraser and Byers,less likely now,sucks.
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Old 10-01-2008   #6
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 221
email sent.

with more things being taken away from us the least you can do is send off a quick email.
Jace Crane
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Old 10-01-2008   #7
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,112
Also just sent out an e-mail. I think as boaters, we have a unique understanding of the rivers in our state, and as such have a unique duty to try to protect them.
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Old 10-07-2008   #8
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 418
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who wrote a letter, and for those who just don't have the time, I've composed a brief sample letter that you can cut and paste and send in. If you add a bit about yourself and your experience on Byers/Gore/Pumphouse, it will be more meaningful.

Second, this is not a lost cause! The water rights to remove more water are very junior rights, and very conditional. Plus, the Draft Envirionmental Impact Study they did is a bunch of BS in relation to boating, other recreation, and the health of the river in general as an ecosystem for fishing. We can strike this down with enough oposition.

If you are in the Loveland area tonight, there is a public hearing. There will be a presentation telling the public how wonderful and necessary it is to keep water from flowing in the river (based on a bunch of biased and innacuratly portrayed data), and then THE PUBLIC (YOU) can make comments and ask questions. A representative of AW will be there (thank you Nathan), but we need MORE BOATERS to make a stand so they know this is important to us. You can find more info on the project, and the meeting location in Loveland on AW's site: American Whitewater - Upper Colorado River in danger of being Flat-Lined!_

example letter from a kayaker: (put DEIS comment in the subject)

Dear Mr. Tully:

I have just found out about a plan to divert peak run off out of Byers canyon and Gore/Pumphouse, to provide more water for the front range. The impact, based on the DEIS will be grave for kayaking Byers, and I feel it will be even worse than the numbers show since 400 cfs (your proposed level for kayaking) is the minimum level for boating, not a good level. I will be very sad to see this river cease to be a kayaking option for me, and it will be tragic if future generations will never have the opportunity to experience this river at proper flows.

IF YOU LIVE IN THE DEN AREA: Personally, I would rather implement water conservation such as watering my lawn less frequently, or during certain hours of the day, or xeroscaping sections to decrease water loss, if this will help keep our rivers flowing for future generations. Why can't we spend some of the millions of dollars this diversion will cost to help us in efforts to conserve water, such as xeroscaping?

IF YOU LIVE IN GRAND COUNTY: Moreover, I am concerned about the economic impact on our community due to a loss of fishing habitat, increase of water temps killing fish, and a reduction in kayaking in Byers, and kayaking/rafting in Gore and Pumphouse. Fishing and boating are a bid part of our tourism economy and in such economic times as these, we can NOT afford a reduction in these activities.

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Old 10-08-2008   #9
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Posts: 290

Thanks for getting the word out Jen!
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