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Ruedi release one big step closer to reality

May 8, 2016

The Frying Pan River in Basalt on a cloudy spring day.
Credit Elise Thatcher

Water managers have formally decided to allow another release from Ruedi Reservoir in the coming months.

Several agencies have signed a lease coordinating a release that could start as early as July. The one last fall generated lots of complaints, especially from anglers who struggled with high flows in the Frying Pan River.

This year’s release is designed to be lower flows over a longer period of time. Linda Bassi is with the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

“The fact that the lease amendment has been signed by all parties and approved by the state,” said Bassi on Friday, “means that the stage is set for the Fish and Wildlife Service to notify that releases are needed.”

The additional water is to help out four species of endangered fish downstream.

The terms of the release are the same as last year, allowing between 6,000 and 12,000 acre feet. But managers will work to keep flows to between 250 and 300 cubic feet per second (cfs).

Managers will make the final decision once they know more about snowmelt and other key environmental factors.