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CPW hosting meeting on Arkansas River water temperatures below Lake Pueblo dam

Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Colorado Parks and Wildlife invites the public to attend a one-hour meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, to hear the agency's proposal to adjust temperature standards for water in the Arkansas River below the dam at Lake Pueblo State Park.

At the meeting, to be held in the park Visitor Center, CPW's water quality team will discuss the history behind current water temperature standards and explain the reasons it wants to adjust the standards. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions and discussion.

"CPW is seeking to adjust temperature standards to match existing conditions for the Arkansas River from the dam to its confluence with Wildhorse/Dry Creek Arroyo, about five miles east," said Mindi May, CPW's water quality program coordinator. "The proposed standards would not allow warming of the river beyond historical levels and will protect the existing cold water fishery."

CPW is involved in the temperature question because that section of river includes the Pueblo State Fish Hatchery, which was built in 1986 as a joint venture between the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation – which built and owns the Lake Pueblo dam – and CPW's predecessor agency, the Division of Wildlife. CPW manages recreation on Lake Pueblo and operates the hatchery.

The 80-acre Pueblo hatchery is one of 19 hatcheries CPW operates statewide, raising 90 million fish a year and stocking them in lakes and rivers across the state. The Pueblo hatchery is the only facility that breeds cold- and warm-water species of fish and its operations are affected by the temperature standards.

That section of river has been sufficiently cooled by the creation of the Lake Pueblo dam to support a cold water fishery in the tailwater below the dam, May said. But CPW has determined the river cannot meet the default temperature standards from July through December. These default temperature standards are included in the hatchery water discharge permit, which the hatchery will be unable to meet.

CPW proposes to keep the existing temperature standards for the months of January through June. The agency hopes to adjust the standards to reflect the slightly warmer river water temperatures July through December. CPW's temperature proposal will be based on a model that removes the small thermal impact of the hatchery.

What: Colorado Parks and Wildlife invites the public to a one-hour presentation on its proposal to adjust temperature standards for Arkansas River water in the segment below the Lake Pueblo dam and, in particular, the temperature of flows leaving CPW's Pueblo State Fish Hatchery.
When: 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 6
Where: Lake Pueblo State Park Visitor Center, Pueblo Reservoir Road, Pueblo, 81005.

Those who cannot attend in person will be able to view the meeting on Zoom.

Photo is courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife
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