Because this has been such a big water year we are actually moving water right now. End of water year goals are typically to go in with a reservoir in a position to avoid spill in the following year, should a large snow year occur.
We are timing these releases to benefit the endangered fish downstream. The San Juan River Recovery Implementation Program has requested a baseflow deviation (from our normal range of 500 to 1000 cfs) to 1500 cfs for the reach from Farmington to Lake Powell through September. That will likely result in a release that ranges between 800 and 1200 for the summer. In October, there will be a transitional period where we assess how much water we actually were able to move, and if it wasn't enough, those operations may continue for another month.
Once we hit November, there will be two weeks where we go as low as possible with the release to try to get the flows between Farmington and Lake Powell as close to 500 as possible. They will be doing some tests and experiments and drone flights to assess the difference in habitat between these two flow levels.
After that two-week period, operations will resume as normal, and we will go back to making releases to target something between 500 and 1000 cfs in that critical habitat reach.
Bottom line: Bluff flows will likely average near 1500 cfs through September and possibly even October. Flows November and later will be closer to 500 cfs.
Feel free to call or email with more questions. I happen to have seen the notification today for this message, but if I don't respond right away just email or call me.
Susan Novak Behery, P.E.
Western Colorado Area Office