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Discussion Starter #1
So... I've got a permit for Westwater next weekend. The flow is currently at 2,300 cfs, and has been dropping 200-300 per day.

Has anyone ran it when it is running less than 1,000 cfs? What is it like?

I hate this year.
 

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I don't think it's ever gotten down to 1,000 CFS. I can't imagine that it will get that low. The lowest I've ran it was in 2002 but I think it didn't get below 1,800. It's still fun just takes a lot longer to run it.
 

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Curtiso said:
So... I've got a permit for Westwater next weekend. The flow is currently at 2,300 cfs, and has been dropping 200-300 per day.

Has anyone ran it when it is running less than 1,000 cfs? What is it like?

I hate this year.
I doubt it will drop that low as flows didn't drop to that back in 2002, though I'm not sure what the water managers are required to let out on the upstream reservoirs. I ran it at 1200 cfs in 2002 in an 18' cat and it was tight.
 

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Ran it in 2002 at 1200 cfs in my 16 ft and squeaked by on the left - slid up on tha back of Skull for a second, but my passenger was able to push us off. No room for oars once you make the spin. We also had an 18 ft and he did fine on the right, although it was tight and ugly too. Pretty interesting seeing the bones of the river. I'm betting it gets that low again this year...
 

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What is your rig? We were on it last week at 2400 with 14.5 and 16.5 gear rafts and it was a bit dicey in places. At that flow you have to go down the wall in Skull, get your oars in... I didn't and snapped one.

But I still had fun.

DanCan
Westwater 2000 cfs April 2012 - YouTube

If this video description is accurate, the water level is less than 2,000 cfs. They went left of Skull in this video. Not advised?
 

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So what flows contribute to the level at Westwater? Upper C and the Green? I've got a day float on 7/30 planned- wondering if 17 miles is doable if it's a trickle by then?....
 

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Just went down on a day trip friday at 2280 cfs with a 16 ft. cat. I came in on the right tongue but moved left of the razor rock which was sticking out in the middle. A 16 ft. raft with us squeezed down the wall. Lots of the big commercials at the takeout talked about problems they had in Skull and mentioned some other groups flipping. We launched at 10 am and took off at 6 pm. Not too much W.

The flow in Westwater comes from dam releases up the Colorado (Green Mountain Resevoir, Shoshone power plant etc.) and the Roaring Fork which is affected by releases from Ruedi resevoir. I don't think the flows will drop off to a trickle. There are water right agreements to maintain fish habitat.
 

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What is your rig? We were on it last week at 2400 with 14.5 and 16.5 gear rafts and it was a bit dicey in places. At that flow you have to go down the wall in Skull, get your oars in... I didn't and snapped one.

But I still had fun.

DanCan
Hi Dan, there was a left run at 1200 cfs in my 18' Leopard, it wasn't pretty but it was there.
 

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Just went down on a day trip friday at 2280 cfs with a 16 ft. cat. I came in on the right tongue but moved left of the razor rock which was sticking out in the middle. A 16 ft. raft with us squeezed down the wall. Lots of the big commercials at the takeout talked about problems they had in Skull and mentioned some other groups flipping. We launched at 10 am and took off at 6 pm. Not too much W.

The flow in Westwater comes from dam releases up the Colorado (Green Mountain Resevoir, Shoshone power plant etc.) and the Roaring Fork which is affected by releases from Ruedi resevoir. I don't think the flows will drop off to a trickle. There are water right agreements to maintain fish habitat.
The water right agreements are to maintain water rights downstream to the thirsty and overpopulated cities and agricultural entities based on the myopic agreement made in the early part of the last century. In reality, the fishy's play second fiddle, at least down in the lower stretches of river/reservoirs.
 

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I realize the legal rights don't require a minimum flow for fishies but all the local entities have worked an agreement with Denver to maintain rafting and fishing viabilty through Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork valley. Although the agreement hasn't been signed in ink, because of the dire need to protect water this year, they are honoring the agreement.

This is the same water that will benefit Westwater flows.
 

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So what flows contribute to the level at Westwater? Upper C and the Green? I've got a day float on 7/30 planned- wondering if 17 miles is doable if it's a trickle by then?....

Westwater has both the Colorado and the Gunnison's water in it. The Colorado above Grand Junction drains everything in the Upper C, plus the Eagle and the Roaring Fork. The Gunnison drains the East, the Taylor, the Lake Fork Gunny, the Cimarron and the Uncompahgre. It drains a very large area for flows to get below 1000, but then again flows have been lower than 2002 most places...

The Green doesn't join the Colorado until Cataract.
 

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Gremlin said:
I realize the legal rights don't require a minimum flow for fishies but all the local entities have worked an agreement with Denver to maintain rafting and fishing viabilty through Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork valley. Although the agreement hasn't been signed in ink, because of the dire need to protect water this year, they are honoring the agreement.

This is the same water that will benefit Westwater flows.
Gremlin, you're correct. I thought that's what I said, but if not, my bad. 😳
 

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Ran it last Tuesday in a sixteen foot boat loaded with gear, and a group of kayakers that we played leap frog with in the canyon told us it was 2500. We'd run ruby/horse thief and the board hadn't been updated. That left line was tight! We ran up on razor rock and slid off to river left. The stern mount commercials that tackled the w with us said they hugged the cliff on the right. They also asked if we'd seen one of their oars though! Tuck em and go right!
 

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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — A formal agreement governing the Colorado River, hammered out over the past six years among 43 Western Slope and Front Range entities, is now paying off for fish, anglers, boaters and cities that divert river water for municipal use.

A section of the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement called the Shoshone Outage Protocol is ensuring that flows through Glenwood Canyon and farther upstream will remain at or close to the normal 1,250 cubic feet per second (cfs) level, according to Jim Pokrandt, spokesman for the Colorado River District.

That flow level keeps the water cool enough for fish, high enough for rafting, and clean enough for towns that use river water, such as Silt and Rifle.

The protocol came into play last week when river managers and wildlife officials could see that drought conditions were pushing river flows well below the 1,250 cfs level normally maintained through Glenwood Canyon.

At the same time, Xcel Energy has its Shoshone hydroelectric power plant in Glenwood Canyon operating at half capacity while crews do repair and maintenance work on the plant's overflow pipes.

When the plant is running at full capacity, its senior water right, known as the “Shoshone call,” ensures that flows stay at or above 1,250 cfs. But with plant operations curtailed and the water right not being exercised, Colorado River flows fell below 1,000 cfs from Monday, June 11, to Wednesday, June 13.

At that level, river companies were having a tough time getting passenger rafts down the popular Shoshone stretch, between the power plant and Grizzly Creek, Pokrandt said. In addition, temperatures in the river were rising, which puts a strain on coldwater-loving trout and the river insects they feed on.

Last Wednesday, key players in the Shoshone protocol got on a conference call to discuss the situation, and agreed to make extra releases of about 450 cfs of water from three reservoirs.

Contributing to the flows are the Colorado River District from its Wolford Mountain Reservoir, Denver Water from its Williams Fork Reservoir, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from its Green Mountain Reservoir, all near Kremmling.

By 10 a.m. on Friday, June 15, flows hit the normal 1,250 cfs level, and hovered between 1,250 and 1,300 through the weekend. By 4 p.m. Monday, flows had climbed over 1,400 cfs.

“The bottom line is to mimic the Shoshone call for the benefit of fish, recreationists and cities that divert water from the river, such as Rifle and Silt,” Pokrandt said.

“This makes a real difference in the river,” said Eric Kuhn, general manager of the Colorado River District. “Since we started [boosting flows], you can see by the gauge that the temperature of the water has come down 4 degrees Fahrenheit.”

The Shoshone call will remain inactive while power plant repairs continue, said Mark Stutz, Xcel spokesman. “The goal is to get done before winter, so it will be into the fall before we do the full call again,” Stutz said.

Pokrandt said the river flow situation will be assessed in a conference call on a weekly basis for the time being.

“Every Wednesday the reservoir operators, irrigators, fish biologists and Denver Water will get on the phone and see what the river and the weather look like,” Pokrandt said. Based on forecasts, the group will decide how much extra water to release under the Shoshone protocol.

“There is a limit to how much water is in these reservoirs,” Pokrandt noted, but for now the releases can be managed.

By mid-July, river managers expect that flows in the Colorado River at Palisade will fall low enough that Grand Valley irrigators will exercise the Cameo call. That's another very senior water right that will require water users upstream with younger water rights to curtail or shut down their diversions from the river.

But for now, the agreement between Western Slope and Front Range water users under the Shoshone protocol is serving as a means to maintain flows along the Colorado River from Parshall in Grand County, through Glenwood Canyon and all the way to Palisade.

“This is exactly why we all came together to sign the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement — to provide benefit to the Colorado River. Denver Water is proud to be part of an effort that fulfills our goal to operate our system in a way that benefits the environment,” said Jim Lochhead, manager of Denver Water.

Grand County manager Lurline Underbrink Curran said, “This is a good example of how the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement can work when everybody is pitching in to help the river in a time of need.”

“This is a great level right now,” said Geoffrey Olson, co-owner of Blue Sky Adventures, a rafting outfitter in Glenwood Springs, on Monday. “The higher flows makes for a more fun ride through the canyon. We'd like the water to keep coming.”
 

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So what flows contribute to the level at Westwater? Upper C and the Green? I've got a day float on 7/30 planned- wondering if 17 miles is doable if it's a trickle by then?....
If you get W then its going to be a long day.

Ranger said at 2500cfs to figure on 11 hours. I moved my permit to Aug and if the flows are still above 2000 we may try the one day thing... leave 'early' float through the rapids, have lunch then float on out.

If you have a motor then 1 day even at low flows shouldn't be an issue.

DanCan
 
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