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Old 02-17-2019, 09:14 PM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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Water Volume

Sometime last year, I posted a question about how to determine water volume in the Black River and other places. Someone responded by sending me the link for the National Water Information System.

My interest is the Black River and its forks below Big Lake. On the NWIS page, I see two volume locations for the Black. One is Below the Pumping Plant and the other is near Ft. Apache.

This information is not what I need. Is there a way to determine water volume on the forks or on the main stem at the bridge on Road 25?
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:57 AM
Seldomseen Seldomseen is offline
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Best bet is the pump station. I would estimate flow at Wildcat (FR 25 ) to be approximately 1/2 - 2/3 of that. That is a seat-of-pants guess.

In the spring, over the course of several days of fair weather, watch the steady dropping average flows. When the amplitude of the diurnal swings begins to marginalize (not as much variability between max and min flow in a 24 hour period), the water temp should be approaching optimal temps for most invertebrate drift.

Wading will be best reading under 250 cfs at pump station.

Tough to say with the potential of a lot of weather left here in the last few weeks of winter with spring to come, but we are probably looking at May .

Summer flow are more problematic with more localized heavy rains - more likely to impact a particular fork or feeder. The good news is it clear quicker too.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:08 AM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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Seldom,

Thanks. Tell me where pump station is located. I will use your 1/2 to 2/3 formula.

In the almost 40 years I fly fished Colorado, mostly moving water, the best decision I could make on where to go was water volume. My maximum volume preference on any body of moving water was about 200 cubic feet per second. Fortunately, there were many places along the Platte and other locations for plan B. It might mean a longer drive but that never discouraged me unless it was farther than three hours from Littleton.

The Denver Water Board owns all of the reservoirs from Antero down to Strontia Springs (located in upper Waterton Canyon). This includes Antero, Elevenmile Cheesman Resv and Strontia Springs. The one exception is Spinney Mountain Resv, which lies between Antero and Elevenmile Resv. It belongs to the city of Aurora. Water volume below all of these reservoirs was never the same, which was good for anglers.

Before the days of water volume being transmitted from gauging stations to a satellite for retrieval by a phone call to an automated system or by way of the internet, we had to call the Water Board and speak to a nasty, ill tempered employee who hated giving the information.

And, as you can imagine, water for fishing took a back seat to water rights downstream for agriculture and domestic use. That changed, more or less, when the Two Forks Dam project was disapproved.

Runoff would begin in early spring and continue, depending on snow pack, until July-ish. Water volume in Elevenmile Canyon was usually at a lower fishable level, each year, later in the summer than other locations. Not being an expert on water rights and so on, I'm guessing it is because much of the water for the Denver metro area came from Dillon Resv on the west side of the Continental Divide. Water from Dillon is diverted into the north fork of the S. Platte by way of a 23 mile long tunnel (Roberts Tunnel) under the Divide, which dumped water into the north fork near Grant, CO. The water continued it trip down to Strontia Springs Resv, which by passed Elevenmile and Cheesman.

I became interested, strictly from a layman's point of view, in Colorado water when I was a member of Trout Unlimited around 1989. I joined specifically to help fight the construction of the Two Forks Dam project. Two Forks would have been located downstream a short distance from the confluence of the main stem of the S. Platte and the north fork of the Platte. TU provided a 35 mm slide show (old technology today) which I used in a presentation I gave to anyone interested, mostly other TU chapters and some counties. I traveled around parts of Colorado giving the presentation until the project was cancelled.

And speaking of water, someone please tell me where the water will come from for growth in the valley. I know the main sources of water are the Colorado River, Salt River and ground water. I am not anti-growth.

It's nice to see Arizona has two Wild and Scenic rivers - the Verde and Fossil Creek, which feeds the Verde. Colorado has one - the Cache La Poudre. In the days of old, the French would hide gun powder in locations along the river which prompted the name, which translates into hide the powder.

Last edited by Bucksnort; 02-18-2019 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:26 AM
Seldomseen Seldomseen is offline
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The pumping station is near Point of Pines on the San Carlos Indian Reservation near the lower range of trout habitat.

Ironically, it is/was used (not sure of status) to pump water out of the Black into Willow Creek as the other half of the East Clear/East Verde arrangement between Phelps Dodge and Salt River Project.
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:04 PM
Seldomseen Seldomseen is offline
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Originally Posted by Bucksnort View Post
Seldom,


And speaking of water, someone please tell me where the water will come from for growth in the valley. I know the main sources of water are the Colorado River, Salt River and ground water. I am not anti-growth.
This is an interesting question. Historically, it is widely speculated that it was mega drought which resulted in the demise of both the Anasazi and Hohokam cultures. Today, the past couple decades indicate we may be in another long-term drought cycle. Consider we have a;ready lost about 25% of our forest and appear to be poised to lose half or more.

As far as solutions, there are several things to consider. First, per-person use has dropped significantly in our larger population centers. Between more friendly landscape practices, re-use, low-flow devices and more aggressive leak repair, Phoenix uses a similar amount of water as it did with half of the past population.

Speaking of the City of Phoenix, about 60% of its water comes from the Salt and Verde with the rest from the Colorado River via the CAP. Additionally, the City has been banking unused CAP allocations underground. Mindful of the possible loss of CAP supply, the City recently passed significant raises in water rates in order to recover this underground storage and build the infrastructure in order to supply water all-around from the pumping and Salt/Verde allocations (in lieu of CAP supplied treatment centers). Amazingly, water rates will remain below what many other well-watered cities pay. It is likely rates will continue to rise as scarcity grows.

Also, agriculture is bigger consumer than the cities So we may see less agriculture to accommodate population consumption. With the above factors in mind, speculators have begun to buy agricultural water rights with the expectation of higher rates and profit generation.

In the end though, Mother Nature will call the shots. We can conserve and get creative, but if she shuts off the tap, our ever-growing population will surely wither.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:14 PM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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Seldom,

As I said, I became interested in water issues in Colorado when the Water Board proposed building the Two Forks project. Nineteen miles of the main stem and about ten miles up the north fork would have been lost. I learned a lot during this process. Was I being selfish, you bet. I didn't want to lose my favorite S. Platte fishing at Deckers.

The Division of Wildlife, as it was called then, said if they were to build a reservoir which would have recreational qualities, it would not be Two Forks but they signed off on the project. Many agencies had to put their stamp of approval on it, including the Corps of Engineers, The EPA et al. The reservoir would have been an inefficient provider of water, according to the Water Board's own hydrological data.

TU and others opposed to the project did not hug trees or find a rare microscopic insect; instead, they proposed four alternatives which would provide more water than Two Forks. They proposed water exchanges between providers, ground water, expanding existing structures and, are you ready for this of all things, conservation. Conservation, what a concept. From the time I moved there in the 70s to the time the project was proposed, I never heard a peep from the Water Board about conservation.

Denver Water Board spent $60 million on an environmental impact statement, which they pissed and moaned about after losing the project. I had no sympathy for them because although they thought it was a done deal, it was still a crap shoot.

I will say that people on the west side of the Divide (Dillon, Breckenridge, and agriculture area on the west side of the Divide) were not happy with Two Forks because much, if not most of the water to fill Two Forks would come from the Blue and Fraser Rivers. Farmers and ranchers downstream were unhappy.

Colorado is in a unique situation because no water flows into the state except the Green which dips in the northeast corner for a short distance and the North Platte, which headwaters in Wyoming and dips into the state near Walden for a short distance. Neither river provides water for Colorado. Rain does not provide an appreciable amount of water so it is snow that is so important to Colorado, Arizona, Mexico and others down stream. No snow, no water.

A few years ago, Denver Water said they have enough water to what they call, "build out", which covers their current customers and new construction. I don't recall the exact date but I think it is sometime in early 2020s. I will say I did often hear of how water is so critical in the west. I've not heard anything from anyone in Arizona about conservation and water issues.

Seldom is right. Apparently, water conservation has been successful in AZ by way of low flow toilets and other appliances and water restrictions for landscaping. It's funny, in Colorado, I never heard the word, "zeroscape" until after the Two Forks project was cancelled. You see, the permit for the Two Forks project (issued sometime in the 1930s) has no shelf life so Two Forks could rear its ugly head in the future.

After my experience with TU and Two Forks, I learned of a book titled, "Cadillac Desert" by Mark Reisner. He chronicles the development of water in the west from the time John Wesley Powell rafted the Colorado (with only one arm) in the Grand Canyon to when the book was written. Public Television aired a special on the book.

Is Arizona building homes and business willy nilly without much regard for water? I don't know.

Last edited by Bucksnort; 02-18-2019 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:31 AM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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A final note on Two Forks.

A little over a year ago, on this site, I asked whether Arizona faces the loss of prime fishing water because of the construction of new dams. No one responded so I assumed there are none.

So, how was Two Forks given the axe? I'm not sure but the scuttlebutt is, George Herbert Walker Bush was president at this time. The regional EPA chief in Denver was the last person to give the stamp of approval for the damn dam. Literally weeks if not days before final approval, the EPA chief in Washington, a Bush appointee, instructed the regional muckety muck to not approve the dam. We don't know if the president instructed the EPA to kill the project or if the EPA chief made that decision on his own. Many opponents think the president made the call.

For many years before the damn reared its ugly head, the Denver Water Board bought many of the private homes along he South Platte from Deckers on down to the confluence, including the community of Deckers. There was nothing above Deckers all the way to the lower end of Cheesman Canyon (about two river miles) to buy except the ultra exclusive and private Wigwam Fishing Club. Two Forks Resv would not have inundated the club - lucky them. So now, Denver Water can be landlords for all those properties.

After Two Forks was killed, the rumor began that the construction of big dams in the west is over.

Ok, now you know more than you ever wanted about Two Forks. I promise not to bring it up again except to say Deckers and the Platte are near and dear to my heart. I learned to rip lips there. I think I could drive the 50 miles to Deckers from my former house wearing a blind fold and sitting backwards.

Last edited by Bucksnort; 02-19-2019 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:55 AM
aztightlines aztightlines is offline
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There was some talk of a dam on the North Fork of the White River, above the town of Whiteriver, but have not heard much lately about that project.

Virtually all of our lakes are man-made, dammed watersheds of some sort, so the idea of more dams seems kind of crazy..but, being Arizona, who knows?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:56 AM
Seldomseen Seldomseen is offline
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Miner Flat Dam received funding and approval last summer I believe. North Fork of White River
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Old 02-19-2019, 03:47 PM
aztightlines aztightlines is offline
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Originally Posted by Seldomseen View Post
Miner Flat Dam received funding and approval last summer I believe. North Fork of White River
Would flood a pretty little canyon along the North Fork of the White, near Post Office Canyon...but the fishing has gone downhill over the years on the North Fork, above and below Diamond Creek, silted in a lot of pools.

No science behind my theory, but I believe the logging upstream has degraded the water quality down there.
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