Lower Gunnison River project - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 11-13-2012   #1
windknot2
 
Hotchkiss, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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Lower Gunnison River project

Just wanted to give everyone who floats the lower section of the Gunnison River below the confluence of the Gunnison and North Fork of the Gunnison a heads up that a project to reconstruct a hazardous irrigation diversion dam is getting underway. The local Trout Unlimited chapter, Gunnison Gorge Anglers, in collaboration with the Relief Ditch Irrigation Company and many other partners will start on the reconstruction very soon. There may be heavy equipment working in the river as soon as Monday, November 21st. This project is located approximately 4 miles downstream from the Pleasure Park and will remove the railroad rails that are driven into the stream bed and eliminate the need for the gravel pushup dam. The construction company will do their best to maintain a safe channel for boaters to use during construction, but if you float this stretch please scout the diversion site before you float through. The duration of the project could be up to 4 months and we ask for your patience while we complete this endeavor that will benefit the irrigators, boaters, fish and fishermen, as well as the overall riparian area. Thanks.

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Old 11-13-2012   #2
 
GJ, Colorado
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Thanks for the heads-up.

What can we assume for flows below the tunnel for the duration of the construction? Same (~300) as right now?
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Old 11-14-2012   #3
windknot2
 
Hotchkiss, Colorado
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The last we heard, flows in the Gunnison Gorge and below are projected to remain low throughout the winter to preserve upstream water storage in Blue Mesa. That could change based on snowpack, but not likely.
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Old 11-23-2012   #4
 
Western Slope, Colorado
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Easy turn

We floated the lower Gunny from Pleasure Park to Drysdale's flats today. The diversion dam looks complete and makes the turn very easy but no fun. It is totally flat, the drop is gone as is the small but fun challenge. Better for the fish but my kids will be sad.
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Old 11-23-2012   #5
 
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Staghorn Springs, Colorado
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Thanks, WK. Hadn't heard that was finally starting.
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Old 11-24-2012   #6
windknot2
 
Hotchkiss, Colorado
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fourtyfloater,
Good to hear you got out to enjoy a beautiful day on the river. Right now the slot through the diversion is basically flat with no drop. The project is just getting started and there will be ongoing changes to the diversion dam as it progresses. When completed the new diversion will have an extended riffle rather than the abrupt drop that was present in the past plus there will not be any railroad iron to hang up boats. The river will return to a more natural state without the need to have equipment in the river every year pushing up a cobble dam.
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Old 11-24-2012   #7
 
Western Slope, Colorado
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Good to hear that there is more to come. How do I get more info on the NF chapter of TU? Since I fish that a lot I should join.
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Old 11-25-2012   #8
windknot2
 
Hotchkiss, Colorado
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fourty,
The TU chapter that includes Delta, Montrose, and Ouray counties is the Gunnison Gorge Anglers chapter. When a person joins TU they are automatically assigned to the closest chapter to where they live or they can request being assigned to the chapter of their choice. For first time TU members the cost is only half of the normal TU membership. For $17.50 you get membership to National Trout Unlimited, Colorado Trout Unlimited plus the magazines put out by both organizations as well as membership in the local chapter. The Gunnison Gorge Anglers chapter has an excellent website available at gunnisongorgeanglers.org
There is tons of information on the Relief Ditch project as well as videos and slideshows on fishing and flytying. I hope to see you soon at a TU function.
I floated the stretch from Pleasure Park to the Orchard takeout on Saturday (11/25) Flows are down around 400 cfs. We had to pull my 13 foot raft over a couple of gravel bars, but the slot at the Relief Ditch is a piece of cake right now. Everyone should just be aware that conditions at the construction site could change on a daily basis, but we will do our best to keep open a safe boater passage.
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Old 12-21-2012   #9
windknot2
 
Hotchkiss, Colorado
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An update on the project. The obvious channel to float is straight down the middle of the river. The construction crew is using a row boat to get back and forth across the river. They sometimes have a rope suspended above the water across the channel that they use to pull the boat across. I believe there is a flag attached to the rope, but just be aware you may have to duck under it if you float through anytime in the next month or so.
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Old 12-25-2012   #10
 
Lubbock, Texas
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So now we can do a long River trip from the Pleasure Park to Whitewater, there's no problem getting your IK's thru the diversion dams on the Lower Gunnison?
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