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Taylor River flow forecast looking low

But flows on the Taylor River will be raft-able

by Kristy Acuff

The Bureau of Reclamation issued its preliminary summer operations plan for Taylor Park Reservoir and, while the numbers indicate low flows, water managers predict ample water for rafting and fishing enthusiasts alike.

The Bureau plans to release 250 cubic feet per second (cfs) during the month of June and then bump that up to 300 cfs for July. Flows will drop back down to 250 cfs during August.

“While these flows may not be ideal, they are not prohibitively low. Rafting is still fun and doable at these flows,” says Erik Knight of the Bureau of Reclamation.

In comparison, water managers released 757 cfs in the Taylor River during June 2017 and around 400 cfs during July and August 2017.

The release schedule is subject to change based on precipitation this spring. In May 2015, for example, the release schedule was forecast as 63 percent of normal (similar to this year), but after a month of heavy precipitation, the reservoir flows jumped to 87 percent of normal, prompting water managers to dub it a “miracle May.”

“We would love another miracle May,” says Frank Kugel, general manager of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District. “In 2015 the area received between four and seven and a half inches of precipitation for the month, which boosted the flow levels considerably.”

The Bureau’s Taylor Park Reservoir April 1 forecast estimates 62,000 acre-feet of runoff between April and July 2018. This is 63 percent of average and officially categorizes this year’s runoff as “dry.” The Bureau of Reclamation will update this estimate in May with another forecast.

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