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Does anyone have information about the expected Gunni gorge flows? I am planning on running it next weekend but would like a little more water for the raft.


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God Amongst Men
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This has been discussed here recently....Try scrolling back a few pages, should find what you are looking for
 

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Yep this was covered by Eric Franz from the Dept. of Reclamation, and they plan on maybe adjusting up to 600cfs. sometime in June, but we have received alot of rain in May, so this may change. Even 600 is tight for bigger rafts on Cable and The Squeeze rapids with wrap potenial. Like I always say, keep an eye on the weather forecast more than flows cause you really don't want to be in that gorge during a heavy downpour. Best of luck.
 

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If you are a regular user of the Black Canyon or Gunny Gorge you may want to send a quick email to Erik Knight at Reclamation and ask to get on his Aspinall Release update email list. His email is eknight at usbr dot gov or phone (970) 248-0629. He sends an email anytime something changes with a little info about operating parameters, inflow to blue mesa, and target flows on the USGS Gunnison at Whitewater Gage.

His most recent update was this morning:
Releases from Crystal Dam will be decreased from 1300 cfs to 1200 cfs on Wednesday, May 27th at 10:00 AM. This release decrease is in response to a decrease in diversion to the Gunnison Tunnel. The current forecast for April-July unregulated inflow to Blue Mesa Reservoir is 520,000 acre-feet which is 77% of average.

Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1050 cfs. River flows are expected to stay above the baseflow target for the foreseeable future.

Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, is 1050 cfs for May.

Currently, diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are 950 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are near 400 cfs. After this release change Gunnison Tunnel diversions should be around 850 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon should be near 400 cfs. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.

This scheduled release change is subject to changes in river flows and weather conditions.
A little primer about how Gunnison flows work:

  • Based on Blue Mesa pool level and projected inflow a monthly baseflow target is set.
  • downstream flow is measured at this gage: USGS Current Conditions for USGS 09152500 GUNNISON RIVER NEAR GRAND JUNCTION, CO.
  • Basically, Flows in the Black Canyon and Gunny Gorge crank up as the flow at the Whitewater Gage drop below the baseflow target
  • More rain and/or snowmelt in the basin = more flow in the North Fork, Uncompaghre, Roubideau, etc and less water in the Gunny Gorge. Dry conditions equals higher gunny flows.
The takeaway, Don't hold your breath for anything more than 400cfs. Even if the June baseflow target increases to 1500cfs, we are still well above that at 4000cfs. There is no need to increase above the current 400cfs to meet the baseflow target.

 

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As a few others said, Erik knight with aspen all unit will get you on the update list for planned releases from the dams. Very accurate data !


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cause you really don't want to be in that gorge during a heavy downpour. Best of luck.
Really?

I hiked down Chukar in a monsoon 2 summers ago. Hiked in our drysuits if that tells you anything--cold rain pounding down for 24 hours before we got there, and all through our day.

The wash was flowing slowly as we exited it to the put-in beach, and ~20 minutes later when we were shoving off the takeout beach was gone--non-existent, under flowing water. The entire gorge was a cascading, gorgeous, muddy mess. But the river difficulty seemed not one iota different than any other time I've been in there, other than less visibility in the water.
 

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Edd Franz, BLM Montrose
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Flows through the Gunny Gorge are bumping up to 2,100 cfs today (6/11/2015). Should hold at that level for a while.
 

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How long do you suspect they will push that much water through? I'm putting on Sunday June 21st and flows will dictate which boat I'm bringing. Crazy how 2-3 weeks ago flows were expected not to exceed 600!
 

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Edd Franz, BLM Montrose
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From what I've heard from the Bureau of Reclamation, they may hold it at this level through July. I'm guessing you can depend on these flows for you solstice trip. Unless we keep getting rain. If it keeps coming it's conceivable that they might have to increase flows even more.
 

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Edd Franz, BLM Montrose
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Well, that didn't last long . . .

Just got this update from BOR:

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION
ASPINALL UNIT RELEASES

June 11, 2015


Releases from Crystal Dam will be increased from 2900 cfs to 3400 cfs on Friday, June 12th. This release increase is in response to the continued rainfall and forecast for high inflows into Blue Mesa Reservoir. Inflows to Blue Mesa Reservoir are currently over 6500 cfs and are forecast to increase to 7500 cfs in the next couple days. The current forecast for April-July unregulated inflow to Blue Mesa Reservoir is 570,000 acre-feet which is 84% of average. If the high inflow trend continues, it is likely that the mid-month forecast will show another increase.

Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1500 cfs. River flows are expected to stay above the baseflow target for the foreseeable future.

Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, is 1500 cfs for June.

Currently, diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are near 900 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are 2100 cfs. After this release change Gunnison Tunnel diversions will be about 900 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon should be near 2600 cfs. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.

This scheduled release change is subject to changes in river flows and weather conditions. For questions or concerns regarding these operations contact Erik Knight at (970) 248-0629 or e-mail at [email protected]
 

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Edd Franz, BLM Montrose
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I spoke with Erik Knight (BOR) this afternoon about what we might expect over the next few days as far as flows in the Gorge. Although he couldn't say exactly what to expect, here's what I got from the conversation:
  • inflows into Blue Mesa are currently far exceeding outflows; over the weekend the reservoir was coming up at a rate of a foot per day (10,000 acre feet/day)
  • Blue Mesa is within 3 feet of filling
  • models used to forecast inflows are not good at handling the kind of rain (and rain-on-snow) events that have driven the inflow this season, so there's a high level of uncertainty about how much more might be coming
  • they want to avoid sending water over the spillway at Blue Mesa
My feeling is that they will have to run full bypass at Blue Mesa, which will send about 6,100 cfs down to Morrow Point and Crystal. With the Cimarron running close to 1,000 and other side-inflows, that would put more than 7,000 coming over and through Crystal. With 900 diverted through the Gunnison Tunnel that still would leave over 6,000 going through the Black Canyon and Gunnison Gorge.

With increasing temperatures and chance of rain in the high country, I wouldn't be surprised if flows were above 6,000 by the weekend. I'm thinking they'll be over 4,000 within a couple of days.

Please be careful. A swim at high water can be long and cold.
 

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Gunnison Gorge flow at this time (June 17) is 3250 CFS! We are looking at running this next week for fishing purposes, at that level I doubt that would be worth our time. Considering the current pattern, it looks like the river will remain up next week. Good year to be a high water boater, another year of not fishing the gorge.
 

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Gunnison Gorge flow at this time (June 17) is 3250 CFS! We are looking at running this next week for fishing purposes, at that level I doubt that would be worth our time. Considering the current pattern, it looks like the river will remain up next week. Good year to be a high water boater, another year of not fishing the gorge.
Ran it on Sunday @ 2600 cfs. With Cimmaron pumping in brown water, the Gorge was uncharacteristically murky. Looked like some were having luck fishing, but not like you would expect.
 
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