Roaring Fork Conservancy to host runoff event

Roaring Fork River
Roaring Fork River(KKCO / KJCT)
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 6:19 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The Roaring Fork Conservancy is one of Colorado’s largest watershed organizations. They serve residents and visitors within the Roaring Fork Valley through watershed programs and science and policy projects.

As a critical headwater tributary to the Colorado River, the Roaring Fork Watershed is also home to 3 transbasin diversions. About 80% of the water in Colorado resides on the Western Slope, but about 80% of the state’s population lives along the Front Range. As early as the 1900s, transmountain diversions used gravity to move water from west to east for municipal, agricultural, and industrial purposes. Throughout the state, twenty-four major tunnels move water from Western Colorado to Eastern Colorado under the Continental Divide. Two of the five largest diversions in the state are within the Roaring Fork Watershed. Since the early 1900s

The third biggest diversion is the Boustead Tunnel, which moves water from the Upper Fryingpan River to Turquoise Lake near Leadville. The 5th largest tunnel is Twin Lakes Tunnel. It diverts water from the Roaring Fork River headwaters to Twin Lakes on the other side of Independence Pass. About 40% of the water in these headwaters is not downstream in spring and summer. Instead, they are moved by gravity through the Continental Divide.

Temperatures this spring have been on a roller coaster ride, fluctuating from warm to cold. The warmer temperatures in favor allowed 3-6 inches of melting to occur at Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) or remote weather stations in the Roaring Fork Watershed between May 11-18. “Certain streams that we would not expect to be in runoff are in peak runoff right now, and its happening at the lower and mid-elevations. But that has not necessarily happened yet at the higher elevations because there’s still a lot of snow up there,” said Christina Medved, Director of Community Outreach at Roaring Fork Conservancy.

They collaborate with the United States Geological Survey when looking at water levels and the National Weather Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service for how much snow fell in the area.

Since it will still take some time for most of the snow to melt, many people have already taken to the outdoors for spring and early summer recreation and outdoor activities. Some of these can include around and on water. Therefore, the organization is hosting the Runoff Party: Get River Ready with Roaring Fork Conservancy. While the event will have some topics on river safety and etiquette, there will be other activities like learning to tie a fly, fly rod tune-up, watershed trivia, and more. The event is free, but you must register ahead of time. You can view a list of events by visiting the Roaring Fork Conservancy website.