Roaring Fork River

Hunter Baar


Results are in from testing done after a release of water from Grizzly Reservoir last month turned the Roaring Fork River a dirty yellow.

The discoloration happened in mid-August after a dam problem forced the release of between 10 and 20 acre feet of water from Grizzly Reservoir on Independence Pass. The water flowed into Lincoln Creek and eventually into the Roaring Fork River. It raised alarm because of its color.

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On Thursday, City of Aspen and Pitkin County staff took water and sediment samples at Grizzly Reservoir following discoloration of the Roaring Fork River. The work follows concerns from elected leaders.

The crystal clear water turned brown early this week after a dam problem forced the release of muddy water from Grizzly Reservoir. Between 10 and 20 acre feet flowed from Lincoln Creek into the Roaring Fork River.

Cornelia Carpenter

Bugs and wildlife are benefiting from higher-than-normal rivers in the Roaring Fork watershed. Heavy rain and snowmelt have boosted flows to flood stage in some areas. It’s positive for the river ecosystem.

River flows are above average on the Roaring Fork, Frying Pan, Crystal and Colorado rivers. It’s good news for water quality and wildlife habitat along the riverbanks. The flows knock away dirt buildup in the spaces between rocks on the riverbed. Rick Lafaro with the Roaring Fork Conservancy says that’s where bugs live.

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Heavy rain Tuesday night boosted the Roaring Fork River in Aspen to flood stage. Minor flooding is possible in low-lying areas. 

Flows in the Aspen stretch of the Roaring Fork were nearly four times the typical amount Wednesday morning. Pitkin County Sheriff Joe Disalvo says people with homes in a floodplain should be prepared to sandbag and self-rescue if waters get too high.

There’s less water from the Roaring Fork River being diverted to the East Slope this spring and it’s increasing flood danger. Over the weekend, law enforcement in Aspen and Basalt monitored high flows. Wetter-than-normal conditions on the East Slope temporarily stopped diversions through the Twin Lakes tunnel. They’ll start up again later this month. Bill Linn is Assistant Police Chief in Aspen.

Marci Krivonen

Pitkin County is taking public comments on a draft plan for managing the North Star Nature Preserve, east of Aspen. On Monday night, an open house will be held, where people can learn more about the wetlands and meadows. 

You drive by the North Star Nature Preserve on your way toward Independence Pass from Aspen. It’s a 285-acre open space parcel with deer, elk, black bears and the one of the highest elevation Great Blue Heron rookeries in the state.

Marci Krivonen

Basalt Town Council Tuesday approved a “future roadmap to development” for downtown. The decision came after more than two hours of discussion and public comment.

The board voted 5-to-2 to support the resolution. Mayor Jacque Whitsitt and councilman Gary Tennenbaum voted against it.

Marci Krivonen

A committee charged with brainstorming redevelopment ideas for downtown Basalt presented their findings on Thursday evening. The Downtown Area Advisory Committee met with Town Council, the Planning and Zoning committee and scores of interested citizens. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

The volunteer committee has been meeting regularly since October and pouring over ideas from the community and a map of downtown Basalt. Basalt is considering redeveloping several key parcels, including some riverfront acreage.

Tonight (Tues 9/23) the Basalt Town Council will decide whether to approve members of a special board that will help make decisions on downtown development. The committee would, according to the Town Manager, “put more meat” on redevelopment ideas. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen explains.