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Stopped at North Wash returning from Clay Hills takeout at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 3/30/2022. Hard to take photos with sun at that low angle and I'm terrible at it anyway, but here's a couple shots. Not much change - certainly no new blade work and the front end loader is in same spot it was - since our trip stopped there on October 28 last year (and we then continued on to Bullfrog, which is currently closed while they extend the ramp). The level is about 10 vertical feet lower today although the lake elevation has fallen 30+ feet in the meantime.

North Wash still looks feasible, maybe a little better than last October due to friendly eddies right at the foot of the "ramp" that can accommodate maybe 4 boats instead of two. With roller tubes and a good anchor/strong 4WD/winch it would be totally doable - unless it rains. If/when that happens, North Wash becomes an accident waiting to happen... which is what caused our geriatric group to go on to Bullfrog last time (heavy rain the night before we got there, a big group of 20- and 30-somethings from Jackson already having a tough time, etc.).

As for the fantasies in the wayneswords.net post, I have a sticker on my trailer "Believing bullshit will not make it come true." Weather and climate prediction is all about probabilities, and the odds just aren't in favor of gaining ground on storage capacity in any of the dams this year. Sure, we all (or most of us, anyway) hope for a repeat of 1983/84 when we got BIG April and May snow and rain - but it doesn't look good today. And there are twice if not treble the number of people living in the drainage and dependent on it for water. (The post from "paladin" rankled from the beginning with the "confidentiality" - privilege - assertions when at least 6 or 7 of the participants in the call are paid by the taxpayers...). But sure, houseboats and motorboats are people, too....

There were zero vehicles in the parking lot and no one around when I took these. Hard to believe no one is running Cat at the end of March (we did last year and had trouble getting the camps we wanted!) but that's apparently the case. T-berry (Cat river ranger) is neighbor to a couple on our San Juan trip and told them any improvement to the takeout situation is still in the talking stage. Extending the Hite boat ramp is WAY beyond the scope/income of the Cat
rafting "industry." Even if you tacked on a $100 surcharge per passenger, and applied it to privates as well, you'd maybe have 3-4 hundred thousand, say even $500k to apply towards ramp improvement. That wouldn't get you even a hundred yards towards the river from the foot of the Hite ramp, and it's a good half mile from the water. The problems with doing anything at North Wash have been discussed in this thread.

BTW, Clay Hills is gooey yuck and a boat drag the last 10-15 yards even with light, small boats. That was at 600+ cfs on 3/30 (after two nights of light rain). I counted 24 times rowing back and forth across the river to stay in the "channel" from Steer Gulch (6 miles to CH). Took 2.5 hours...
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Wow. Thanks man. T-Berry said the same thing to me, he mentioned something about private property and NEPA having a part in any solution too. I think your photos were perfect, thanks for sharing. Not sure I'm going to plan on taking the snout boat out there though.. a class IV river with a class VI takeout for that rig.
 

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Looks to be about 2050 feet if these aerial images are to be believed....

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Edit: Sorry...not very legible... the text near the river bank says 2050ft

Non-trivial distance to put that much concrete down...but doable if there was support. Seems questionable on whether there is or not.

Definitely a challenging situation. I know on a late season trip last year the Northwash takeout SUCKED. Only option was a 45 degree slope up right down to the river which was sticky gross silty mud. Definitely too steep for a vehicle with a trailer without some kind of winch to pull you back up.

I'm no expert, but I don't expect Lake Powell to ever fill significantly again even if we had a couple of amazing years of snow pack in a row. If you had asked me a few years ago if we would have been in this position I woulda called you crazy...but its actually looking like it might be possible that Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam might be essentially dead.
 

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Why would you need to put concrete down? A bladed and compacted route to the bank of the river would suffice, surely?

We're talking about 4x4s with trailers and not juggernauts towing 120-foot houseboats, right?
If it were to rain, that silt will become bottomless super slick and impassable in short order with very little moisture.. think about what it's like on the River banks, where you step off your boat and end up in sludge up to your waist.. there would need to be some sort of surface, at the very least 10 or 12 inches of road base, and even at that...
 

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If it were to rain, that silt will become bottomless super slick and impassable in short order with very little moisture.. think about what it's like on the River banks, where you step off your boat and end up in sludge up to your waist.. there would need to be some sort of surface, at the very least 10 or 12 inches of road base, and even at that...
The Hite ramp was built on bedrock. That same bedrock extends down to the original elevation of the river there.

Admittedly, the river is flowing in a channel over 100 feet higher than it should be.

Oh yeah. Reading what I've typed just makes me realise what a hugely costly project this would be.

As you were ...
 

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This basically sums it up:

Thanks for the link, John.

It's incredible to think there was a short-lived marina just upstream of the falls at Piute Farms in the late eighties. Even at near full pool they were floating on seven or eight feet of water:

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Page 3-4 of the Glen Canyon Gazette:
Moving forward, the park will be working with a contractor to take the conceptual drawings developed for the Antelope
Point Public Ramp, Halls Crossing Public Ramp, and a primitive ramp and takeout area at Hite and develop schematic
designs for those proposed projects while the park continues to seek the funding necessary for potential construction.
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Does anyone know the elevation of the lake level that would mean there is no current at the takeout? I guess that's kind of a sliding scale considering the "ramp" could be a sliding scale of levels. I meant to get a GPS elevation reading there last summer but it was a little too chaotic.

Edit to add: after a whopping 30 seconds of research on Lake powell water database site, I'm thinking around 3600'.

And since I'm waiting on some contractors at work, here is a bunch of bullshit saying it we average 22,000 CFS daily inflow for this year (same as 2011), and we keep our average daily outflow at 9600 (same as 2022) then we might be able to fill the lake back up by the end of the water year?

One thing this really doesn't take into account is the V Shaped nature of the river and most numbers are from a lake level around 3600'. That throws things way off.

 

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Non-trivial distance to put that much concrete down...but doable if there was support. Seems questionable on whether there is or not.
Why would you need to put concrete down? A bladed and compacted route to the bank of the river would suffice, surely?

We're talking about 4x4s with trailers and not juggernauts towing 120-foot houseboats, right?
Maybe a good gravel road base with 2" asphalt. Keeps it from becoming a muddy mess, less costly and easier removal than concrete.
 

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Powell elevation of 3600 for no current is pretty close, in my experience - maybe even down to around 3590 - for "no current" at the foot of current North Wash takeout. I'd say "insignificant current" instead, as in you can take the occasional stroke to stay where you want versus dead pool/no current. October 2012 at elevation right around 3610 we motored over to the ramp at Hite to take out as the North Wash ramp was busy. Hite was usable for "small craft" and the docks were still in the water then.

As for refilling the reservoir with one good winter, dream on. The figures in the spreadsheet don't take evaporation into account, nor water that will be lost to the porosity of the now-dry sandstone, etc. I'm loving our winter this year but it's not even close to '83 or '84 - and even one of those won't restore reservoirs after the drawdowns they've had in last couple years to keep water in Foul and Mead. We could, however, have a real runoff in Cat this year: real as in 40k + (which is when you start feeling like a little boy caught somewhere you oughta' not be...).
 

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From 2014 to 2015, the lake level was appx 3600', and the lake gained nearly 1,000,000 acre-ft of water and the lake rose 11 feet. 91,000 acre ft of water rose the lake a foot at this level.

From 1982 to 1983, the lake level was appx 3700' (full pool), the lake gained nearly 3,500,000 acre-ft of water and the lake rose 22 feet. 157,000 acre ft of water rose the lake a foot at this level.

From 2021 to 2022, the lake level was appx 3530', the lake lost 2,700,000 acre-ft of water and the lake dropped 36'. 76,000 acre-ft dropped the lake a foot at this level.

Say adding 84,000 acre-ft of water is 1 foot of lake rise.

Those numbers don't necessarily account for soil moisture content, but increased values do for evaporation.

At least in our corner of the world, we're right in line with 2011. The avg inflow to the lake was 22,000 CFS that year. Over the past year, our average outflow was 9600 CFS.

So, say average inflow 20k outflow 10k. Net 10k cfs added through the water year is 7,2400,000 acre feet added to the reservior. At 84,000 acre-ft being 1 foot of lake rise, that puts us at 86 feet of lake rise, and brings our lake elevation up to ~3610'. Ok so not quite full pool...
 

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Thanks for the analysis, I hope we have a good runoff.

From the Reclamation website:
Based on the current forecast of 9.5 maf unregulated inflow for water year 2023, the January 24-Month Study projects Lake Powell elevation will end water year 2023 near 3548.22 feet with approximately 6.99 maf in storage (30 percent of capacity). Note that projections of elevation and storage for water year 2023 have significant uncertainty at this point in the season. Projections of end of water year 2023 elevation using the minimum and maximum inflow forecast results are 3,532.05 feet and 3,582.24 feet, respectively.

One of the reasons that the levels you project may not occur is that at the current low lake levels a lot of the side canyons that are filled at higher levels will need to be refilled as the lake level rises before the overall level will be affected. At higher levels the recharge more easily raises the level. Still a lot of winter left, and the major Colorado river watersheds are above normal so still a lot of uncertainty. Where I live in Southern Utah, we are over 200% snow water equivalent but a few warm south wind days in April can change that radically as the snow sublimates without contributing to the runoff.
 

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I'm loving our winter this year but it's not even close to '83 or '84
Since our records back to '79, this is the most snowfall we've ever had between 10/1 and 1/24 at the Alta-Collins snotel site. snow-water equivalent might a different story, as this year has been generally low density with the exception of the series of storms between christmas and new years.

At the end of the day, hopefully there's water in the rivers, and hopefully I get to float on it.
 

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I can believe the record, what distinguished both '83 and '84 was the March &April precip, something mostly missing in the last decade. In '83 the pedestrian bridges (wood) went up on State Street end of April, if I remember correctly, to deal with City Creek that was now a river running 500-1k cfs through downtown. Someone more tech-adept can find the photos of folks kayaking and fishing in it...

By '84 "the authorities" were better prepared and had begun work on Mountain Dell, plus drawn down the Green and Colorado River impoundments to make room for runoff. Cataract peak in '84 (around 110k) was actually a little higher than in '83 (just over 100k) but releases from Glen Canyon were steady at 45k for months (in contrast to '83 when that damn was almost removed and they had to install the flash boards, I think the max release was 93k).

Both years were record winters followed by "sudden Spring" - I remember wearing parka one day and tee shirt the next, so melt was fast and furious. I see Alta totals around 435 inches so far this year, REALLY hope it continues. Epic runoff would thin the herd, no doubt...
 

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"Lots of anger there against the proposal to fill Mead first."

Yes, they are not big fans of Glen Canyon Institute. I don't know if it's anger, but they certainly are fervent in their desire to preserve Powell for fishing and boating.

They have one guy in particular, JFRCalifornia, who is exceptionally well versed in the details of inflows, outflows, annual and regional use patterns, and all the other details that go into BuRec's decisions on what it does with water. He's also quite good in his ability to explain complex issues understandably, particularly in the context of the 1922 agreement that has set the boundaries for Colorado River water management. He's a good factual resource, whether you agree with his pro-Powell inclinations or not, and there is a lot of water knowledge there from others as well.
 

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I can believe the record, what distinguished both '83 and '84 was the March &April precip, something mostly missing in the last decade. In '83 the pedestrian bridges (wood) went up on State Street end of April, if I remember correctly, to deal with City Creek that was now a river running 500-1k cfs through downtown. Someone more tech-adept can find the photos of folks kayaking and fishing in it...

By '84 "the authorities" were better prepared and had begun work on Mountain Dell, plus drawn down the Green and Colorado River impoundments to make room for runoff. Cataract peak in '84 (around 110k) was actually a little higher than in '83 (just over 100k) but releases from Glen Canyon were steady at 45k for months (in contrast to '83 when that damn was almost removed and they had to install the flash boards, I think the max release was 93k).

Both years were record winters followed by "sudden Spring" - I remember wearing parka one day and tee shirt the next, so melt was fast and furious. I see Alta totals around 435 inches so far this year, REALLY hope it continues. Epic runoff would thin the herd, no doubt...
Depending on your view of Greg W, these are highly entertaining tales of '83.

Podcast

Mountain Gazette Article

The suggestion was obvious and didn’t sit well. “I have brought some non-pussies to
row these boats out through the scary water.” The boatman who had recently become
my wife was ready to tear his throat out. People had died. There was no room on the
beach for macho. The last boat to try it tipped over. It was 33 feet long and weighed
five tons. We’ve been “practice” flipping the dories on the way down here by having
everyone stand on one side. They tip right over. We weren’t taking those people into
the Big Drops. No way.
 
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