Yampa River flows pick up in Steamboat, shrink in west Moffat

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— The Yampa River in Steamboat Springs was flowing Thursday morning at as healthy a level as it has all month — 139 cubic feet per second — but the situation on the Yampa is declining further downstream.

The Yampa was flowing at 118 cfs Friday morning where it flows beneath the Fifth Street Bridge, but it picks up steam in the next six blocks, flowing at 140 cfs below Soda Creek, according to a stream gauge monitored by the Colorado Division of Water Resources.

The river gains another 109 cfs from the Elk River fewer than 10 miles west of Steamboat and is flowing at 162 cfs below Craig.

Despite the numerous tributaries between Steamboat and the confluence of the Yampa and the Green rivers in Moffat County, agricultural and municipal users are consuming a portion of the flow. The river is limping along at 128 cfs in a broader channel in its lower reaches at Deer Lodge Park, just above the entrance to Dinosaur National Monument, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Typical flows there in late July are in the range of 600 cfs.

And the river at Deer Lodge Park has a long way to fall before it hits the historic low for that location of 22 cfs set during the memorable drought year of 2002. It’s significant that the measuring site at Deer Lodge has been in operation for just 27 years.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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