Steamboat Springs — On Tuesday morning, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District began releasing water leased by the Colorado Water Trust into the Yampa River to help bolster flows.
This is the second year the Colorado Water Trust has leased 4,000 acre-feet of water in Stagecoach Reservoir.
“Last year, we saw that adding water to the Yampa River was of tremendous value not only to the natural environment but also to Steamboat Springs and other communities along the river,” staff attorney for the Colorado Water Trust Zach Smith said in a news release. “We look forward to working with Upper Yampa to create similar benefits again this year.”
The Yampa River at the Fifth Street bridge was flowing at 120 cubic feet per second Tuesday morning, below the median for the date of 181 cfs. Last year, the group’s release bolstered the river by about 26 cfs for most of the summer.
According to the release, Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologist Bill Atkinson suggested that releases from Stagecoach Reservoir start at a rage of 30 cfs to help with high water temperatures.
“Right now, flows on the Yampa are holding, and flows are what keep this precious ecosystem intact. A couple of weeks of hot weather could change that,” Pete Van De Carr, owner of Backdoor Sports in Steamboat Springs, said in the release. “There have been flow issues for years, and CWT is stepping up to help the river.”