A Jeep drives through a flooded parking lot in front of the Steamboat Hotel on Tuesday morning.

Photo by John F. Russell

A Jeep drives through a flooded parking lot in front of the Steamboat Hotel on Tuesday morning.

Flooding reported as water rises in Steamboat

Water levels expected to continue to rise this week

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Flooding

The Yampa River flowed over its banks causing flooding in parts of southeastern Steamboat Springs on Tuesday.

The Yampa River flowed over its banks causing flooding in parts of southeastern Steamboat Springs on Tuesday.

— Clay Rogers says the water went from a just trickle to raging in two hours Monday afternoon along U.S. Highway 40.

Rogers is co-owner of Snow Country Nursery, which is struggling to stay dry at its new location next to Steamboat Christian Center on the city’s south side. He said he was working on irrigation lines when the water started to rise.

“I turned around and it just came like that,” Rogers said.

Temperatures are getting higher and so is the water in the Yampa River, which overflowed its banks and flooded areas near the city limits on the southeastern edge of town.

Rogers said he had a big tree installation planned for Tuesday, but that would not happen because of the water now inundating the nursery. Instead he was moving some of the 300 trees out of the water.

“It won’t damage the trees,” Rogers said. “We just don’t want them to float away.”

Several driveways near the Steamboat Hotel off U.S. Highway 40 were under a foot of water Tuesday. The water was about 60 feet from the main entrance to the hotel.

“Definitely this is going to affect business,” hotel owner Jay Wetzler said.

He has owned the hotel for 30 years.

“The scary thing is we’re not even close to peak run-off,” Wetzler said. “We’re at least two weeks away.”

Wetzler said that’s just his guess, but his may be as good as anyone’s when it comes to when runoff will peak and how high the water will get in local rivers and creeks.

“I don’t know how good, bad or anything it’s going to be,” city of Steamboat Springs Street Superintendent Doug Marsh said.

Marsh said flooding has not caused any major damage in the 33 years he has been here.

“That’s not to say it won’t happen,” he said.

Routt County Office of Emergency Management Di­r­ector Bob Struble said with the forecasted high temperatures — today’s high is expected to reach 77 degrees — it’s safe to say the much anticipated melting of record amounts of snow from upper elevations finally has begun.

The Tower measuring site at 10,500 feet on Buffalo Pass measured another state record Sunday with 80.1 inches of water contained in 178 inches of snow. By Tuesday, the snow water equivalent had dropped to 78.8 inches.

“With temperatures expected to go above average, you’ll start to see snowmelt accelerate and rivers rise,” said Jim Daniels, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

High temperatures through the week are expected to be in the low to upper 70s.

That is reflected in the Weather Service’s forecast for the Yampa and Elk Rivers.

The Yampa was measuring 6 feet Tuesday afternoon at the Fifth Street Bridge measuring station. By early Friday morning it’s expected to reach 7.2 feet, which is above the 7-foot stage at which the Weather Service will send out flood advisories. By Sunday morning the Yampa is expected to reach 7.3 feet. The Yampa’s flood stage is 7.5 feet at the Fifth Street bridge location.

The Elk River already has reached the action flood stage near its confluence with the Yampa and is expected to rise to 8.1 feet by 6 a.m. Friday. The moderate flood stage at the measuring site near Milner is 8.5 feet.

“I think we’re going to see a prolonged (runoff) event,” Struble said. “I think this will last most of June. I think we’ll see above average flows into July.”

Struble said the high water currently affecting parts of the county is not unusual.

“I can’t predict how high it’s going to go,” he said.

For many this spring, there is a sense of anticipation and uncertainty.

“I have no idea how high it will flood,” longtime resident Curt Weiss said. “It has some potential of getting big.”

Weiss has lived in Steamboat for 35 years and owns the Walton Pond Apartments near the area affected by flooding Tuesday. Weiss hoped the flooding was the result of a damaged riverbank. Instead, he found the water was coming over the banks of the Yampa in numerous places.

“This surprises me,” Weiss said while surveying the flooded areas Tuesday morning. “We haven’t had water get in over here before.”

— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

High water, spring 2011


View High water, spring 2011 in a larger map

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 6 months ago

Well, seems that this should not have been a surprise. Stagecoach had been filling up and finally got full so flow downstream increased to that of what is flowing into Stagecoach. How this ended up causing surprise flooding suggests a lack of communication.

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mavis 3 years, 6 months ago

Maybe if people paid attention to more then the MMJ articles there wouldn't be such a "shock" factor and residents would be prepared for the unpredictible. Just an idea!!

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mmjPatient22 3 years, 6 months ago

mavis-

What a joke! Tell me that you weren't being serious when you said that.

Because if you were serious, you're telling everyone that people are so surprised about the flooding because all of the articles and comment boards that have to deal with cannabis have been so enrapturing and enveloping that they couldn't even notice the flooding river that's pounding it way through the valley....even after this last weekend being the whole Yampa River fest thing?

Do I have that right? This is why the cannabis discussion never goes anywhere. People on mavis' side of the debate come up with crap like mavis just posted and then it leaves the rest of us in such befuddlement, most of the time, that we have a hard time mustering a response.

To boot, it's less than an hour till June right now. Why does everyone get all surprised when all of the snow melts every year?

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mmjPatient22 3 years, 6 months ago

ps...

It really couldn't be that everyone missed all of the flooding because of how much attention they were devoting to the cannabis articles. I haven't had a response from one of the naysayers in over 72 hours. They're either not paying attention, or they've finally given up on their weak argument(s).

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hubiem 3 years, 6 months ago

i don't think the high water really surprised anybody, the paper had a picture of a guy on a sailboard back in the 80's in the same parking lot, so everybody in the area was prepared for high water.

however, if you look at the gauge online at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/co/nwis/uv?site_no=09239500 the graph does spike straight up about 500cfs in an extremely short time frame. the only thing that could cause that sharp of an increase is a sudden release of water from the dam which does surprise people when the water comes up so fast.

so what gives? the river has been quite a bit higher in recent history, but it didn't flood the parking lot of the super8/steamboat hotel then. so why did it flood now? the river today is at 5.96 ft. on 6-7-2010 it peaked at 6.72 ft and the parking lot didn't flood. on 6-4-2008 it peaked at 6.34 feet and the parking lot didn't flood. does fish creek make that much difference?

i saw curt weiss walking around in his waders this morning after he had explored the source of the water, and he said that the water that is flooding the area is coming out of bald eagle lake. maybe ed macarthur should get some of his excavating equipment over there to pile up some dirt at the edge of his lake and try to help prevent a lot of property damage since his lake seems to be the conduit that is bringing water eastward from the river over toward the development along route 40.

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sledneck 3 years, 6 months ago

The river (all snow-driven rivers) spike up and down every day due to daily heating. You might have been reading the guage after the daily spike or once the "damage was done". Or it could be that the guage has been altered/ re-calibrated since 2010. Or it could also be that someone has been "working" on the river upstream; someone who is tired of water flooding their property @ 6' so they raised their berm or armor and, thus the same amount of water but more of it stays in the channel and affects things downstream differently. Or someone lowered a berm or something and allowed more water to flood out.

I live on the Elk and all of those things happen all the time. Same flow amounts produce way different results every year. The best way to handle it is to assume each year stands alone, get an idea of what 6' looks like this year and use the guage accordingly. The guage is not the "Bible" just an arbitrary guage. This is also why year-over-year comparisons are unreliable.

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4genlocal 3 years, 6 months ago

you don't suppose that the last 10 years of slowing the flow of the yampa from tree haus to 13th street has any thing to do with it do ya?? all rocks for fish habatat, the rebuilding of c hole. whats good for fish might not be good for the public

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hubiem 3 years, 6 months ago

sledneck, look at the graph. that's what i'm doing. i'm not just looking at an instantaneous reading. here's the elk. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/co/nwis/uv?site_no=09242500 it's a nice smooth sine wave. it's very predictable. you can see that it peaks (not spikes) every single night at roughly the same time. i don't see a single "spike" of 500 cfs in a matter of minutes like the yampa experienced two days ago. i actually looked back through several weeks and i don't see where anything like this has happened on the elk all season long.

when i say "spike", i'm talking about a horizontal line on the graph that instantaneously jumps vertically to another horizontal line on the graph. daily heating and cooling produces a more predictable curve with peaks and valleys, this is definitely not what we're seeing on the yampa. dam controlled rivers have these "stairstep" spikes upward and downward. very unpredictable unless you know exactly what the guys at the dam are doing.

foot gauges are definitely misleading. 6 feet of water in a narrow section of a river might only mean six inches of water in a big wide open area of the same river. it's best to use cfs, because it gives a better representation of how much water is flowing in the river. i was just using the foot gauge because that's what the usgs was using to list the historical peaks on the yampa

4genlocal, i don't think the "development" of the river bed has altered the elevation enough to make a difference all the way up at the south end of town. there's a lot of elevation drop through town and there's nothing that is completely impeding the water flow. the building of a structure in the river will slightly raise the water level around that structure, but overall won't affect things very far up or downstream.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 6 months ago

I am not a hydrologist, but I think the river gauge is downtown and so is after Fish Creek and Walton Creek which are both pretty low. So the high flow right now is entirely from the Yampa which you can see is quite high along hwy 131. First time I've seen water flowing directly into the old gravel pit and so on.

So it is different from typical flooding in that area which is from Walton Creek running high running into the Yampa.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 6 months ago

And the upstream dams did not release water to cause a spike, they got full and water is now flowing over their spillways.

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weststmbtres 3 years, 6 months ago

I would agree with Hubie on the issue of the C hole affecting flows that far upstream 4gen. I've been a river rat for 30 years. I've spent years of my life on the water kayaking, rafting and fly fishing. I also have an engineering degree and work experience in pipe and drainage ditch flow and fluid dynamics. To say that the C hole affects the flow above Walton Creek would be like saying the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead affects the rivers flow at Lees Ferry. That's not even possible or logical.

An obstruction added to the river will only affect the flow to a minute distance( a few inches at most) beyond the upstream most point of the flatwater pool created by the obstruction.

In other words, the C hole or any other obstruction would have to create a flatwater pool all the way to Walton Creek before it would affect the flow there. That's simply not the case.

I would also agree with Hubie on river spiking sledneck. The river does not as you say "spike up and down every day". It gradually raises and lowers with a smooth sinusoidal motion just like Hubie stated. The spike that the graph shows is an anomaly and and is probably just as Scott indicated the point when the Stagecoach reservoir filled. However, even as the reservoir filled, I would not expect to see it as a straight vertical line. I would think by the time the front of the "bubble" as we call it in the river community got to Steamboat it would be a little more gradual.

I also heard the same thing about Bald Eagle Lake. Water that was once in the river and should have remained in the river is flowing backward into the lake and inundating ditches with additional water they were not meant to carry. Just goes to show the issues we create when we decide to build things like man made lakes where there should be none.

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4genlocal 3 years, 6 months ago

It is not just c hole there has been work done from 13th upstream to the state lands across from humble ranch. And as any kid knows if you step in a ditch you don’t stop all the water you slow it down when it is slowed down it backs up. Somewhere along the line it will find a low point and run out. I have seen little ditches with a plugged culvert cause water to wash over a road more than a mile from the culvert.

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weststmbtres 3 years, 6 months ago

4gen, your original post mentioned only Tree Haus to 13th street. Considering where the issue is, Walton Creek and above, bringing the area between Tree Haus to the c-hole into the argument from an hydrological engineering perspective is a moot point.

Now that you've added some info about construction projects upstream and around the area in question, you've actually added something we can talk about. If you want to discuss engineering projects that affect the floodplain, Bald Eagle Lake is the largest project that has happened in that area in the last 30 years.

I'd have to say the fish dams and the work done at Chuck Lewis would do little to cause flooding over the river banks. Fish dams are engineered to make deeper pools at the lowest water levels of summer and winter allowing fish to have more habitat to survive the warm and low water levels in the summer and ice free water in the winter. Once the river level increases to a point where there is no pool-drop-pool-drop sequence to the downstream flow, in my personal and engineering opinion, fish dams do very little to raise the river levels at high water.

I can't say for certain because I haven't been out along the river in the Chuck Lewis area this spring. A walk through of the Chuck Lewis area would probably be in order just to be sure. If there are bank overflows in areas with Fish Dams, then I believe they should reconsider the fish dam engineering projects.

On to the next issue. Below is a letter to the editor posted in the Steamboat Today August 17, 2003. Specifically, note below the statement that the lake would cause floodplain issues. Being that this is the largest runoff we've had since the lake was dug, I think that one of Vickie Rozenzwigs many concerns is coming true. Curt Weiss has been around a couple more years than me and definitely has more experience with water issues in that particular area but I can't help but believe that it's simply not a good thing to see water running from the river into the lake and then out into the floodplain inundating drainage ditches with water that should still be in the river.

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weststmbtres 3 years, 6 months ago

Here's the letter to the editor

Unwelcome pit

I am writing in response to the editorial in the Steamboat Pilot & Today concerning Ed MacArthur's potential plans to develop a gravel pit operation on his ski lake property.

I applaud MacArthur for his generosity in donating time, material and labor to our community. The ski jump is welcomed as a creative alternative to the standing gravel piles at his site. But, by no means, should this be a free pass to construct a gravel pit at the worst site proposed in Routt County history.

The editorial mentioned that three mounds of gravel are an eyesore on the gateway to the community. Can you imagine what a full-blown gravel pit would be? Mr. MacArthur, after knowing he couldn't sell the gravel, went ahead and dug the lake anyway and constructed the existing piles. This is his problem and not that of the community.

He is now discussing affordable housing, trail systems and city parks as a solution to his problem. In this case, I feel the end cannot justify the means. He could build houses and give them away but that would never justify this site as an acceptable place to mine gravel.

As a member of the Gravel Matrix Committee, we have spent years working on a document that would facilitate a just decision-making process for gravel pit sites. If this site was approved as an acceptable site, we might as well throw all of our planning documents out the window.

The statement that issues at the property have been put to rest or can be mitigated is a mistake. MacArthur has been before the Planning Commission twice and both times has been unanimously opposed. The Planning staff has informed the applicant that based on the planning documents, the proposed location is not appropriate for gravel mining at any scale.

The three major areas where the proposal conflicts with the Master Plan and Zoning Resolutions are visual impacts, land-use compatibility, and flood plain impacts.

There are also wildlife concerns. Because of the location of the proposed site these negative impacts are impossible to mitigate. The site is in close proximity to substantial residential and recreational uses. There are more than five times as many residences, motels, etc., than at any other existing or proposed gravel pit in Routt County.

The site is within 1.5 miles of the base of the ski area and adjoins the Legacy Ranch open space parcel owned by the city.

The west side adjoins the State Wildlife Area.

Noise from the crusher, wash plant, and backup alarms on trucks likely would be audible within nearby neighborhoods. On the gravel matrix score, it scored the worst possible score of all existing or proposed pits in visual impacts.

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weststmbtres 3 years, 6 months ago

and the rest of the letter.

It scored poorly on air and water quality and land use compatibility.

What kind of message are we sending to other gravel pit operators, who are faced with all these regulations, by saying we should turn our head and approve this, since it will clean up somebody's eyesore?

Gravel pit operators will see this as a precedent and start digging up piles of gravel all over the county. The proposed Werner gravel pit, was denied due to the same issues that denied MacArthur's pit. The proposed More pit also has these same issues.

Anyone citing these same planning documents pleading for a denial of these pits would be hypocritical supporting MacArthur's proposal just because it would generate affordable housing, trails and a city park.

What are we doing? Selling our souls and our integrity? Constructing a gravel pit at the MacArthur site actually was presented as a creative alternative to denying the More pit site. Yet, these same issues were being used by the opposition.. If you oppose the More Pit because of visual impacts, land use compatibility, air and water quality issues, you cannot in good conscience support this proposal.

This brings us back to the issue of what do we do with this eyesore that has plagued the entrance to our community for so many years.

On many occasions, the County has asked Mr. MacArthur to discuss with them any reasonable solution to this problem.

If Mr. MacArthur is truly an altruistic individual and wants to clean up his act, he has the option of donating the existing gravel piles to the community. I am sure there are all kinds of creative ideas that don't involve huge profits from a gravel pit. Why should he profit from a mistake that left the community with this eyesore? Mr. MacArthur can still do the right thing without making a profit by selling gravel.

We should not compromise our planning documents to justify the end result of cleaning up this site. As you stated we need to come up with a solution that is a true benefit to the community.

What do you say, Mr. MacArthur?

Vickie Rosenzweig

Steamboat Springs

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Charlie MacArthur 3 years, 6 months ago

hubiem, weststmbtres,

In response to the concerns you have listed above, I have taken a few minutes to post a few pictures of the Yampa Meadows property both before and after Bald Eagle Ski Lake was built. The first picture is an aerial from the 1997 run-off. The second was taken yesterday. In both pictures it is clear that the source of flooding around the tree farm and Super8/Steamboat hotel is the river exceeding its banks and following the floodplain to the North of Bald Eagle Lake. The ditch structure which acts as a "conduit that is bringing water eastward from the river over toward the development along route 40" has been in place since well before the lake was constructed. When the river exceeds the banks to the north of the lake, the entire field floods, including those ditches. It should be evident from the first picture that the lake is not the cause of those ditches running water, they have always done so during these types of events.

If we could reasonably act to prevent the current flooding of business and property downstream of us we would be happy to do so. However, we cannot berm those ditches now for the same reason we could not berm them when we built the lake, you can not fill wetlands without the appropriate permits and process. The idea of a floodplain is to let the water spread when necessary. I believe that you would agree that confining a river with berms at its average borders would only pass the problem downstream.

The pictures can be found at www.nativeexcavating.com/ym.html

If you have any other concerns regarding the Yampa Meadows property, I can be reached at our office at 879.6231

Charlie MacArthur

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4genlocal 3 years, 6 months ago

West as far as Bald Eagle Lake is concerned. it is a hole in the ground. If the river is topping the bank of the Yampa and running across the top and out in the flood plain the lake is not contributing to the problem. The water would be flooding the area any way. For being an engineer congrats. I have years of experience of seeing what happens as erosion control is placed streams are altered ponds are built. I have worked in the Yampa in different places and seen the effects. I am not saying that all that was done was wrong just when dealing with Mother Nature the effects can be drastic and not what was shown on paper. One point bald eagle lake is not the biggest change to the water table along the Yampa in the past 30 years. Look at both Lafarge pits that are no longer being pumped and flooded as the pumps can’t keep up. They are no longer taking up the slack. I also find it interesting that you are against the building of manmade ponds but not manmade alterations to the river.

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sledneck 3 years, 6 months ago

hubiem, Sorry man, I was just trying to offer you some insight. Did not mean to sound like a preacher.

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mavis 3 years, 6 months ago

mmj- you are predictible and easy to rile up-

I also think some landowners need to be more aware of what is going on and clean their ditches and culverts, divert streams or sandbag. There are people right now that on low snowpack years that have some little issues that are really having some issues-- yet they didn't look around at the snow on the hills, the current level of the river, the paper and so on. Yet they expect everyone else to fix it for them. There comes a point where you have to step up and take care of your land or residence.
People have slacked off for years on taking care of their property there are going to be some issues because of that.

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jerry carlton 3 years, 6 months ago

When things get built in a flood plain, they are going to get wet every few years.

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mmjPatient22 3 years, 6 months ago

mavis-

So, was that second part of your comment a response to me, or just a different, unrelated tangent?

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mavis 3 years, 6 months ago

mmj- it's a point you are easy to rile up-- look at the numbers on your mmj articles they get the MOST attention

The rest is a point and not a tangent. People have to look around and take care of the land they live in. I live in the country on a fluctuating creek. We have to check for beaver dams, debris, fences and stuff from the railroad. We LOOK around and are aware of the snowpack, the cleanliness of the rivers and streams. We have to think ahead because the people downstream are too distracted to realize maybe they could help the creek or river out by sandbagging, or cleaning or puttng blocks up. Fact of the matter.... it is a responsibility of the landowner to be aware of issues and do some preventative maintance.

And really tangent.... most of your posts are pot related tangents supporting your cause I do have to say you have a lot of support in this town. You are just defensive.

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sledneck 3 years, 6 months ago

Mavis, Where I grew up we called the realy big storms "ditch- cleaners". Matters not who cleaned up. It's gonna be a big-un. If you are in the flood plain this year...

The real question is... who do you blame? I live in the flood plain here and I alone am responsible for my consequences.

How bout the rest of you????? Will each of you own your circumstances or cry to uncle scam? The river is a great place to live 10 months / year. Will you accept responsibility for the other 2 ??

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hubiem 3 years, 6 months ago

sledneck, no need to apologize, i was just trying to clarify what i was looking at and what i was talking about. check out the links to the gauges again today. the yampa has held a constant 3300 cfs for days on end now, while the elk has fluctuated up and down daily with that nice sine wave form. again, i believe it's the dams on the river that makes this happen, otherwise if it were truly free flowing, we would see a similar graph on the yampa.

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Bill Dalzell 3 years, 6 months ago

Hubiem, the flow out of Stagecoach has been similar for the past 4 days or so. If your theory was correct then the Yampa in town would still fluctuate. I think it is probably due to the different elevations of run off we are having. The Elk River has more of a consistent high elevation melt. The Yampa has all sorts of feeders such as Butcherknife which peaks at 7pm or Fish which peaks more typically towards midnight. On a typical year the Yampa will fluctuate, but most years the Yampa peaks when far less snow is up top. The general theory about storm face being half melted at peak is usually pretty accurate. This very well may not be the case this year.

The reason why the Yampa is called free flowing is because they do not restrict peak run off. This is not the case where most dams hold water back during peak. (Dillon, Green Mountain etc). Almost river is dammed in some sort of way, but yes the river is truly free flowing by definition and yes it was one of the only such major waterways in Colorado that is such.

As to why Super 8 and Riverplace and other areas are flooded earlier this year, I agree it is a bit strange. I also agree with sled though, that Rivers change fairly significantly each year. Minor differences in flow will force the river over one bank as opposed to the next. It might have more to do with the exact direction of flow than the level. Much like banks move over a period of years, swirls and eddies change more significantly year to year. Roots are eroded, rocks are moved, trees fall in etc. I have seen small creeks flood over a different area each year.

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weststmbtres 3 years, 6 months ago

Sled, personally, I'm not in the floodplain at my house west of town and we called them gulley washers (or gulley worshers depending on how far back in the hollers you lived) back when I was a kid in Tennessee and North Carolina. :)

I was over surveying the scene and visiting a friend at the Majestic Valley Townhomes on Tuesday afternoon. That's where I heard from my friend that Curt Weiss was laying blame on the Bald Eagle Lake. The comment was that the lake was emptying on it's eastern end into the ditch along US 40 and that ditch was carrying it right down along US 40 to the pond in front of the Christian center. Then I saw Hubiem say the same thing above and decided to explore the argument. I saw Sled's comment about people making alterations to berms along the river and I started thinking back to the mid to late 90's when the lake was a topic of discussion around town.

Then I found Vickies letter that stated among other things the lake would affect the floodplain and as a member of the Gravel Matrix Committee, I would assume her opinions (no pun intended) to hold some water so I decided to share her letter again.

It's just my personal opinion, but when I look at the lake I can't help but believe if it were still filled with dirt and gravel that the water would not flow as easily it does now. With the lake in place we have created a water delivery system that delivers water completely unimpeded 600-700 yards closer to the highway, businesses and residences than if the lake was not there at all.

4gen, If you read my post again I said if the fish dams are in fact causing back ups and overflow of the banks then the whole idea of engineering fish dams should be reconsidered. I never once said I supported them. In not so many words, I said I didn't believe they were large enough to cause problems once the water got to current levels. I still believe that. If you drop a 1 foot rock into 1.5 feet of rushing water you'll see a disturbance on the surface. If you drop the same 1 foot rock into 6-8 feet of water you won't see any effect on the rivers surface.

I've done a bit more research and even if the fish dams at Chuck Lewis were to cause overflows, that is on the other side of the railroad berm. I believe the entire flow of the river is constricted at the railroad bridge at the north end of Chuck Lewis so any overflow in the Chuck Lewis area caused by dams must reenter the riverbed before going under the railroad trestle. Thus, overflows at Chuck Lewis could not be contributing the the problems around the lake, the Christian center and the Majestic Valley Townhomes.

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sledneck 3 years, 6 months ago

Sooner or later water is going to find the lowest point. Don't be there when it arrives. This year is gonna be big. We need at least 2 or 3 more weeks of IDEAL weather. Lets all pray for that and for each other to make it through with dry feet, ankles or knees at least.

I think Billy D's thoughts are valid, about the snowpack and the tributaries rising at different times. I just don't really know as much about it as the Elk. One other question... does the lake act as a buffer to smooth out the daily spikes?

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mavis 3 years, 6 months ago

sled-- considering we clear the creek every fall and pay attention during high water and all year long it would be safe to say we don't rely on Uncle Sam to do our dirty work.

With that people need to LOOK around and do what they need to do- who knows how high the river will get. I kind of think the people in Craig might have more of an issue.

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hubiem 3 years, 6 months ago

i just watched the video of the high water that cedar beauregard shot with his remote control plane. if you look right in the middle of the screen from 2:00 to 2:10 you can see water spilling out of bald eagle lake on its eastern end right behind the gas station. in the pictures that ed macarthur posted from before the lake was built, there is no visible water running across the ground that far east. therefore i'm convinced that the lake is serving as a conduit that is moving water farther east that it was ever able to get to before the lake was built. thanks ed for posting the pictures, you've provided the evidence that the lake did change where the water runs. i understand that the army corps of engineers gave the permits to build the lake, but i still don't think it was a good idea. they've made plenty of other mistakes before they and ed made this one.

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4genlocal 3 years, 6 months ago

West you may not see a disruption on the surface I agree but that does not change the fact that the water was slowed. As an engineer you should know that friction decreases flow of water in a pipe the majority of water moves in the middle of the pipe and the water around the edges hardly moves due to friction. A river is the same. Friction slows the water on the bottom and edges. Now you put a series of obstacles in the middle of the river you increase friction and disrupt the main flow. Now it is acting like a small clog in a sewer line. When there is low flow you will not see a prob. When there is moderate flow you might notice but when you have the dishwasher and clothes washer running and your wife in the downstairs shower and you flush the upstairs toilet her feet are going to see the result. Sled I am NOT blaming any one. I am only pointing out what most have not thought of. I live way out of the flood plain and have no problems. Most seem to blame bald eagle and I do not agree. Hubie do you know when all the work in the river has taken place I do not have the dates but am very sure it is after the pre bald eagle lake pics.

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hubiem 3 years, 6 months ago

4gen, i don't really know when any of the work on fish habitat was done in the river. i lived downtown for a long time and didn't really notice what was going on all the way up on the south end of town back then. i think all work that was done in the river bed was pre bald eagle lake though, but i'm not sure of that either.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 6 months ago

I doubt that the comparison to a pipe is accurate because a river's flow is already turbulent and not smooth like in a pipe. So river features are not going to disrupt a smooth laminar flow into a chaotic turbulent flow because it is already a turbulent flow.

I suppose it is possible that Bald Eagle lake has enabled an alternate flow of the Yampa River and is a contributing factor to the flooding at Steamboat Motel and the nursery. Though, that is far from obvious because the Yampa River in the South Valley along 131 is clearly higher than it has been for years.

It seems to me that the "normal" flooding in that area is mostly from Walton Creek being so high that the Holiday Inn's parking lot experiences flooding. But at this time, it is the Yampa which is flooding and Walton Creek has yet to fully come up.

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sledneck 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't blame the lake either. There is a lot of water that simply has to get under the wire. Every year the rivers seem to change their flow patterns a little bit. I believe it's a result of various man induced and naturally caused changes. But it may not be the lake itself. It cuold be someone upstream channeling more flow toward the lakes upstream bank...

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