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Life & Events > The River is Rising, But That's Okay

The River is Rising, But That's Okay

Our annual spring runoff has started. It was a snowy year in the high mountains of our watershed and warm weather has come.

The percentage is for this time of year - we have 331% of the normal snow water equivalent (if you melted down the snow) in our watershed basin. I can remember many years when it we felt lucky that it was 80 or 90%. If the weather gets too hot too fast, a faster snowmelt can threaten some low-lying areas along the river, but at my house, things are fine.


Although I wouldn't mention it to those people in the low-lying areas, I am pleased to see a high runoff that will test the post-2013 flood damaged banks and channels so people can see how much more work needs to be done, and where the river has healed itself.


Our river is controlled by a dam, and there is a tunnel that can carry some of the water over the mountain, bypassing us, but when the snowmelt gets so high the tunnel can't handle it all, it comes down the river. This is why you see the flat line at around 125 cubic feet per second (cfs), and then the line starts jiggling up and down as they try to keep as much of it running through the tunnel as possible because there are currently road/river construction projects in our river canyon.

Once the construction is over, we'll have more normal river flows. High flows are good because it flushes out diseases that affect the fish, so they stay healthier, and it moves sediment that would otherwise build up and cause problems over time.

posted on June 8, 2017 8:59 PM ()


Actually we have very little rain--maybe a shower in the afternoon (to get the tourists off the beach so they can take a nap and then get ready to go out for dinner)--in fact the last few years we have gone through a few droughts.
comment by greatmartin on June 9, 2017 1:33 PM ()
I saw something last month that 66% of Florida is in drought this summer.
reply by troutbend on June 9, 2017 1:45 PM ()
Our 'rainy season' just started and the whole season came in one day--got drenched, flooded, etc., BUT today the sun is out and everything is drying out fast!
comment by greatmartin on June 9, 2017 8:05 AM ()
When I think of Florida, I picture it as rainy season year-round compared to here in the west.
reply by troutbend on June 9, 2017 1:14 PM ()
It is your new mission and we enjoy hearing about it.
comment by elderjane on June 9, 2017 7:53 AM ()
I am deep into Save the World Mode these days, have a bunch of big ideas to carry out, not enough hours in the day seems like. I'm looking forward to getting over it soon and going back to where it's okay to think of nothing - hoping this will happen next week. Just got an invite to a free pizza lunch to talk about wildfire preparedness as dictated by the land use code. I'm going for the pizza.
reply by troutbend on June 9, 2017 1:45 PM ()
Those look like good numbers for a region that always has water issues!!
comment by jjoohhnn on June 9, 2017 5:59 AM ()
That's for sure. The snow from our state is the source of the water in the Colorado River, supplying water for Las Vegas Nevada and hydro power for the City of Los Angeles, then water to the Gulf of Mexico if there is any left. The job of our water managers in Colorado is to figure out a way to keep as much of as we legally can within the state.
reply by troutbend on June 9, 2017 1:12 PM ()
You're like a river whisperer now. Or a river doctor. And you can make graphs sensible that usually mean nothing at all to the general public. This is kind of amazing.
comment by drmaus on June 9, 2017 4:27 AM ()
Once in awhile I run into a topic that I care nothing about - floor joists, roof trusses, fasteners of those two to other parts of the house. Even though I had to understand them well enough to make decisions about them, I couldn't force myself to care. When it came to those topics, it was fingers in ears la-la-la, don't distract me with details.
reply by troutbend on June 9, 2017 1:54 PM ()

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