Fishery benefits from AHRA's river flow program
SALIDA, Colo. -- In a cooperative effort benefitting the Arkansas River fishery, releases from Twin Lakes Reservoir were reduced on April 15, lowering the overall flow in the Arkansas River. Lowering the flows by 125 cubic feet per second (cfs) produces an incremental improvement in feeding conditions that will help sustain the trout population through the high flows yet to come.
This spring, water flows in the upper Arkansas River have been higher than normal. Snow pack is currently 146 percent of average in the Arkansas River Basin. In order to make room for the anticipated spring run-off, Reclamation has been releasing water from upstream reservoirs like Twin Lakes. Through the collaboration of the other entities and agencies, Reclamation was able to curtail Twin Lakes' releases from 500 cfs to 375 cfs. The 375 cfs release is expected to be maintained through the month of April.
"If these flow reductions had not been implemented, combined with the native run-off, the upper Arkansas River flows would currently be above 900 cfs. At that current velocity, it is even more difficult for brown trout to benefit from the spring insect hatches and to enter the runoff period in strong condition," said Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Park Manager Rob White.
The reduction in releases was made possible by collaboration among several different agencies including Colorado State Parks, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Colorado Springs Utilities, concerned anglers and the Bureau of Reclamation, who reduced the release.
The reduced release is an excellent example of inter-agency communication and cooperation that has long been a hallmark of the Voluntary Flow Management Program. By working together, the agencies and entities involved made it possible to enhance the conditions for the Arkansas River fishery during spring run-off.
The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, a Colorado State Park, is one of the nation's premier recreation areas and plays host to the most commercially rafted river in the world. Stretching 150 miles along the Arkansas River, the area offers abundant and outstanding opportunities for fishing, rafting, kayaking, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, camping, mountain biking and sightseeing among deep canyons, broad valleys and towering mountain peaks.