Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced that whitewater boaters and the fishery in the Arkansas River will get a late-season boost in river flow, effective Tuesday.
Colorado Springs Utilities has agreed to move 1,000 acre-feet of water from Twin Lakes Reservoir to Lake Pueblo in support of the Voluntary Flow Management Program (VFMP), according to a press release.
Springs Utilities’ water customers will not be impacted by the release because the water will be collected in the utility’s storage account in Lake Pueblo.
“This release of water will enable both private boaters and commercial outfitters to continue to have a great experience at the AHRA,” Rob White, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area park manager, said in the release.
The transfer also will provide cool relief for trout, which have been struggling with unseasonably warm temperatures, Josh Nehring, senior aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Southeast Region, said.
“This water should help to reduce and stabilize water temperatures into mid-August,” Nehring said, noting it will help the trout survive until cooler weather arrives in a few weeks.
“Typically, by late August the shorter days and cooler nights will provide better water temperatures for trout in the river.”
The rafting community also welcomed the move. “Truly extraordinary news,” Andy Neinas of Echo Canyon River Expeditions said.
White said it a great example of what the voluntary flow program is all about – river partners managing their water requests to the benefit of everyone.
“Early in the summer, Pueblo Water released over 2,650 acre-feet of water in support of the VFMP,” White said. “Then the Bureau of Reclamation, in cooperation with the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, released 13,100 acre-feet of water. Now we are getting an additional 1,000 acre-feet of water from Colorado Springs Utilities.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife press release