Water leased by Colorado Water Trust starts flowing into Yampa | CraigDailyPress.com

Water leased by Colorado Water Trust starts flowing into Yampa

Anglers and tubers enjoy the Yampa River in the summer near Steamboat Springs.
Scott Franz

— On Tuesday morning, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District began releasing water leased by the Colorado Water Trust into the Yampa River to help bolster flows.

This is the second consecutive year the Colorado Water Trust has leased 4,000 acre-feet of water in Stagecoach Reservoir.

“Last year, we saw that adding water to the Yampa River was of tremendous value not only to the natural environment but also to Steamboat Springs and other communities along the river,” staff attorney for the Colorado Water Trust Zach Smith said in a news release. “We look forward to working with Upper Yampa to create similar benefits again this year.”

The Yampa River at the Fifth Street bridge was flowing at 120 cubic feet per second Tuesday morning, below the median for the date of 181 cfs. Last year, the group’s release bolstered the river by about 26 cfs for most of the summer.

According to the release, Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologist Bill Atkinson suggested that releases from Stagecoach Reservoir start at a range of 30 cfs to help with high water temperatures. As part of those water temperature concerns, Atkinson has asked anglers to avoid fishing after noon, when the water temperatures have been reaching the upper 70s.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a little snap in this weather and won’t have so many days up in the 90s,” he said.

“Right now, flows on the Yampa are holding, and flows are what keep this precious ecosystem intact,” Pete Van De Carr, owner of Backdoor Sports in Steamboat Springs, said in the release. “A couple of weeks of hot weather could change that. There have been flow issues for years, and CWT is stepping up to help the river.”

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com


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