The rolling waters of the Yampa River that flow through downtown Steamboat Springs provide an abundance of recreational activities for visitors and locals. A Soup Session lecture and discussion on the Yampa River presented by Yampatika will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today in Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill Lodge.

Photo by John F. Russell

The rolling waters of the Yampa River that flow through downtown Steamboat Springs provide an abundance of recreational activities for visitors and locals. A Soup Session lecture and discussion on the Yampa River presented by Yampatika will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today in Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill Lodge.

Talk to address Yampa water use, recreation and environment

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If you go

What: "Water in the West," a Soup Session lecture and discussion presented by Yampatika

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Olympian Hall, Howelsen Hill Lodge

Cost: $12 includes soup and dessert

Call: 871-9151

— As part of a non-consumptive water use assessment for the Yampa River, local water expert Kent Vertrees is leading an effort to define the river's recreational and environmental attributes.

"Really the goal would be to build a tool for the basin which could be utilized for future water supply decisions," said Vertrees, a member of the Steamboat Springs Water Commission.

The assessment would identify critical river reaches for recreational and environmental needs, such as boating, fishing and maintaining water levels for life in the river.

"So let's say we want to build a new reservoir upstream. They would look at this assessment and say that in 2008, we identified this incredible trout fishery at the base of the reservoir," Vertrees said. "We think this is a high priority to maintain, we want to do our best to maintain that."

Vertrees and Geoff Blakeslee of the Nature Conservancy will go over possible methods and outcomes for the non-consumptive use proposal and give a timeline of where it's going in a 'Soup Session' lecture and discussion from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today at Olympian Hall. Yampatika is presenting the event, which includes soup and dessert.

Blakeslee, a local representative on the Colorado Water Conservation Board, said the assessment was originally proposed to the Yampa/White River Roundtable in October 2006 and is "still very much in the works." Outside experts will help identify targets and provide analysis of the reaches picked out for their recreational or environmental attributes, he said.

"Then we want to look at what condition these reaches are in and what kind of emerging trends are out there that could potentially affect these river reaches," Blakeslee said, pointing out the proposed Yampa Pumpback, a potential project by a Front Range water district that would pump Yampa River water from reservoirs near Maybell across the Continental Divide, as one of those emerging trends.

"We want to understand if something like that were to happen, how future consumptive water uses would affect those reaches that we're going to be identifying," he said.

Vertrees said the assessment could be done within a year but might take longer than that. The Yampa River Basin study will serve as a template for similar assessments across the state, Vertrees said. Once it's complete, the non-consumptive report would be used to tweak future consumptive projects.

"All of our non-consumptive needs are a part of the equation along with our consumptive needs," Vertrees said.

The Yampatika talk is the second in a three-part lecture series. On March 20, Andy Cadenhead, supervisory forester for the U.S. Forest Service, will talk about how pine beetles are affecting the health of local forests.

- To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204

or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com.

Comments

SilverSpoon 6 years, 10 months ago

http://www.crwcd.org/media/uploads/Elkhead_fact_sheet_9_06.pdf

Lake mead dry by 2021?

Most water is not used wisely, 30% of the expanded elkhead resevoir is destined for cooling towers at the power plant. How much more water is destined for oil shale development? How much is used for agricultural use? Snow pack is 114% now, but how long will it stay there?

http://www.crwcd.org/page_214

It is actually very nice to be in the yampa valley: the top of the water food chain, we'll be the last to run out.

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bigdog 6 years, 10 months ago

"Snow pack is 114% now, but how long will it stay there?"

Oh, probably until late July..... maybe August

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colowoodsman 6 years, 10 months ago

duh- the snowpack could drop below average next month!

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 10 months ago

bigdog says;

Snow pack is 114% now, but how long will it stay there?"

Oh, probably until late July..... maybe August

Nice thought however, not likely. Mid July at tops!

colowoodsman says:

duh- the snowpack could drop below average next month!

I believe that is a true statement. NOAA and the Old Farmers Almanac are predicting a dryer end winter and a wetter that normal spring but, not by much. Summer is looking to be a little more moist than in the past few years but, that dosen't take much moisture. I'm happy for the break in the weather pattern however, I hope a cooler wetter spring will keep the water tables in check for everyone in the flow!

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