Vail-Valley River Runoff Has Peaked

Greg Obernesser | | WeatherWeather
An image of the Colorado River flowing. Credit: Aspen Journalism

Vail-Valley runoff into the Colorado River has peaked. According to the Vail Daily, the Colorado River in Dotsero flow peaked on May 15th at a little more than 3,000 cubic feet per second. This figure is tremendously lower than the 77 year mean of around 5,000 cubic feet per second. It is not the lowest it has been, but it is alerting.

Kayakers on Gore Creek near Vail. Credit: Post Independent

Flow peaks are running ahead of seasonal means. Not just in the Vail-Valley, but in the rest of the state, rivers are hitting peak levels. Lack of snowfall this past winter could be the main culprit. Successions of high temperature days could lead to rapid snow melt causing runoff means to peak earlier, which is alarming for district water storage.

A fisherman on Gore Creek: Credit: Vail Daily

Colorado trout populations are at risk due to early peaked runoff flow. The lack of constant cold water flowing from the mountain snow runoff in combination with a warm dry summer leads to river temperatures rising. Typically, water temperatures above 65 degrees is hostile conditions for Trout. Cold rains, when available, usually help out.

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