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Discussion Starter #1
What is the beta on the "new" version of the Silver Bullet dam on the Arkansas?

Have they finally fixed that nasty hole? I wish the old fashioned left line was still a go. I wonder how the commercial company's like it.


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For the most part commercial companies have been unhappy with the changes. I haven't personally seen it yet, but Rob White said they lowered the height of the center island, increased the size of the eddies at the top and bottom, filled in the bottom of the last drop going into the eddy with concrete to help it flush as well as changing the shape of the rock fence below the drop and improving the portage trail. Sounded like CPW was happy with the way it looked during the November release, but they were still unsure what would happen during peak runoff...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow, that is a lot of things that they have done. I find it striking that each time Humans play with the river and think they have a better way of making it flow, things like this happen. I am curious if this will totally work or will be another catastrophe.
I don't know if many company's still start their Brown's Canyon full days in the Town of Buena Vista but what a ride that first bit would be during highwater. The whitewater park can be very stout for people who have never rafted before. BV falls is pretty big, the boogie water before the dam is fun and splashy. The dam itself can be heard with a roar. I bet people are like what did I get myself into. I didn't hear about a lot of major injuries from the carnage of the bottom hole which is awesome. We can only cross our fingers...
 

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iphone video

This is from about 10am thanksgiving morning with about 1k pushing through. Ran the right line twice. First time hit the eddies and they were very defined and strong. Second time floated it and drifted right through with 2 small corrective strokes. The eddy line behind the island at the bottom is surprisingly strong as you move river left. The left line looks to have been really cleaned up. Very different than the mid 80's when you could see rebar and I think a car axle at lower water as you dropped in. High water will tell, but it looks more thorough and balanced than previous attempts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Does the left line look good to go? No worries?


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I find it striking that each time Humans play with the river and think they have a better way of making it flow, things like this happen. I am curious if this will totally work or will be another catastrophe.


While there are some bad examples, there are lots of places where humans have played with the river and things have actually worked out pretty well. Especially considering that river hydraulics with flows varying over an order of magnitude presents a pretty chaotic system that's very difficult to predict or model.

I think it bears mention that the original "rapid" there was a decrepit diversion dam that had been thrown together with junk concrete over the years with no thought of downstream river passage. I'm not sure when but it later had a poorly designed boat chute added that sent boats right into a big rock at the bottom.

While I'm opposed to changing natural rapids, this was a case of a river-wide heap of junk that needed to be torn out and completely rebuilt. Considering where this probably was on the list of priorities for our cash-strapped state, I think it's great that they were able to come in last fall and rework it. Hopefully AHRA, CWCB, and the other funding entities will get it right this time.

-AH
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You make my point with your first paragraph you wrote. It's impossible to get it right with such rivers as the Arkansas.


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Discussion Starter #9
Andy, my man. No hard feelings. My point is things could of been done better. I think most intelligent people would agree. Appreciate your input.


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