Xcel altering Colorado River levels in ice mitigation effort | PostIndependent.com

Xcel altering Colorado River levels in ice mitigation effort

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Xcel Energy has been raising and lowering the level of the Colorado River east of Glenwood Springs for the past several days in an attempt to clear away ice from the water intakes for the Shoshone Hydroelectric Power Plant, according to a company spokesman.

Ice has been building up at intake structures in the reservoir behind the Shoshone Dam, according to Mark Stutz, an Xcel spokesman. The intakes draw river water into a three-mile tunnel, which then feeds water to turbines at the Shoshone hydroelectric plant.

To break loose the ice jam, Stutz said, the company has been raising and lowering the reservoir level, which has been causing fluctuations in the river levels below the dam in Glenwood Canyon.

Stutz said he was not sure how long the fluctuations will continue, explaining that it depends largely on the ambient air temperature in Glenwood Canyon.

“It’s fairly routine,” Stutz said.

“This is not an unusual occurrence,” he continued, adding that it typically is done every winter.

Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said on Friday the agency has been in contact with Xcel over concerns that the depleted river may pose a hazard for endangered fish species.

“We’re monitoring the situation,” Hampton said, adding that the DOW has not seen any cause for alarm yet.

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