Yampa River levels falling after wet spring, summer | CraigDailyPress.com

Yampa River levels falling after wet spring, summer

Much of Loudy-Simpson Park was underwater Monday, June 24 and Moffat County closed the road used to access a portion of the park.
Clay Thorp/Craig Press

After several weeks of rising water on the Yampa River, homes near the waterway might see drier river banks soon as river level continues to fall.

“We had a big snow year,” said Jim Pokrandt, community affairs director for the Colorado River District. “Then we had a cool, wet spring even into summer as you saw in Steamboat with their snowfall.”

Officials say much of the snow in Steamboat Springs and other highland areas of the Yampa Valley hasn’t melted yet. So, unless there’s a series of exceptionally hot days, the Yampa River should stay steady.

“Unless we get a couple of real warm days, it might release some of that water,” said Brian Romig, lead water administrator for Colorado’s Division of Water Rescources Division 6 in Moffat County. “But from what I see, it should continue going down.”

Water officials say the Yampa peaked June 23 and has been steadily falling ever since.

“It’s been coming down slowly but surely,” Romig said.

Craig City Manager Peter Brixius has also been monitoring the situation.

“The flow is dropping,” Brixius said.

Brixius said this year’s Yampa was raging on the first day of summer compared to last year.

“The Yampa has great flow this year, almost triple what the mean was last year,” Brixius said.

That standing water has caused some mosquito issues in Moffat County. At least one mosquito tested positive for West Nile Virus near the South Beach boat ramp in Craig. No official human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported anywhere in Colorado yet, but officials want residents to be proactive in protecting themselves during the peak mosquito feeding times of dawn and dusk.

Moffat County’s weed and pest workers announced this week that spraying for mosquitoes will take place Tuesday, July 2 and Wednesday, July 3 either in early morning or early evening, as weather permits.

Though it breeds mosquitoes, much of that water has made things green up at ranches across the Yampa Valley as cows and other livestock are having their fill of the foliage.

“It’s been a great year, especially compared to last year,” Romig said. “Farmers are happy. Farmers and ranchers seem to be a lot happier this year.”

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