The amount of water released from Ruedi Reservoir was cranked up again this week to make way for runoff from an above-average snowpack in the Fryingpan Valley.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation boosted the release by 30 cubic feet per second on Wednesday afternoon and another 50 cfs on Thursday morning. About 300 cfs total is flowing just below Ruedi dam, the agency said.
The inflow to the reservoir has spiked to as high as 400 cfs recently. “Warm weather brought on spring snow melt and runoff about a week earlier than had been anticipated,” the reclamation bureau said on the Ruedi Reservoir page of its website.
The agency’s crews have cleared snow and opened the gates on diversion dams at 17 creeks in the Upper Fryingpan River system.
“Forecasts are showing there will be enough water to fill Ruedi Reservoir and divert about 73,000 acre-feet of water from the upper Fryingpan Basin to Southeastern Colorado via the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project,” the reclamation bureau said.
Ruedi Reservoir is currently about 63 percent full.
The snowpack for the entire Roaring Fork River basin is 108 percent of average, according to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. That level varies wildly within the vast snowpack.
It is 120 percent of average at Ivanhoe, which is at 10,400 feet elevation, in the Fryingpan River Valley. The snowpack at the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River east of Aspen is at 115 percent of average. Schofield Pass, at 10,700 feet at the Crystal River headwaters, is at 117 percent of average.
The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center released a report April 16 that forecast a slightly above average peak runoff for the Roaring Fork River. The center said a peak of about 6,300 cfs at Glenwood Springs is likely. Average peak runoff at that point is 5,920, the center said.
The Crystal River at Redstone is forecast to peak at 1,900 cfs, which is slightly below the average peak, the center reported.