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Whitewater boaters and trout in the Arkansas River to get late-season boost courtesy of Colorado Springs Utilities
8/12/2018
Credit:
CPW News Release
SALIDA, Colo. – Whitewater boaters and the fishery in the Arkansas River are getting a late-season boost courtesy of Colorado Springs Utilities.

Beginning Aug. 7, 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). Springs Utilities’ water customers will not be impacted by the release as the water will be collected in Springs Utilities’ storage account in Lake Pueblo.

The transfer will provide a beneficial surge of water through the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA).

“This release of water will enable both private boaters and commercial outfitters to continue to have a great experience at the AHRA,” said Rob White, AHRA park manager.

The transfer by Springs Utilities also will provide cool relief for trout, which have been struggling with unseasonably warm temperatures, said Josh Nehring, senior aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Southeast Region.

“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.”

Springs Utilities’ transfer was cheered by the angling and whitewater rafting communities, as well.

“Truly extraordinary news,” said Andy Neinas, of Echo Canyon River Expeditions.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to improve conditions on the river in a way that also meets our operational needs,” said Kalsoum Abbasi, water conveyance supervisor for Colorado Springs Utilities.

White said it a great example of what the VFMP 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 is extremely grateful for the outstanding cooperation we have received from all of these agencies. Without it, water recreational opportunities offered within the AHRA would have suffered.”