Jun 04 2012

A Few Good Reads (6/4/12): Flooding in Cuba, Adoption of the CVFPP, and Drought in Colorado

This week: Flooding in Cuba, concrete work on the control structure for Folsom Dam begins, the adoption plan for the CVFPP, drought in Colorado, and the lowest peak streamflow on the Poudre River (Colorado) on record.

Concrete work begins on new Folsom Dam spillway (Sacramento Bee)

The control structure will be 146 feet high – only 5 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty (not counting its base). The six giant steel gates, each 23 feet wide and 34 feet tall, will be 50 feet lower than the spillway gates in the existing dam, allowing earlier and faster release of floodwaters.

Central Valley Flood Protection Board Draft Resolution No. 2012-25 Providing the Board’s Vision for and Adoption of the 2012 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP) and Providing a Framework for Interpretation and Implementation of the Plan (CVFPP June 2012) (PDF)

Drought/runoff/snowpack news: The Gunnison River basin has melted out (Coyote Gulch)

Snowpack is 7 percent of normal, which means low stream flows are in place, and temperatures are averaging about 10 degrees warmer than normal. More than half the state has been proclaimed as officially in drought, explained the Denver CBS television station.

Flows in the Poudre River – S. Platte’s largest tributary – at all-time low, farmer’s outlook bleak (Greeley Tribune)

Streamflow in the Poudre River, which cuts through north Greeley and goes on to serve as the largest tributary stream to the South Platte River, is particularly dismal. According to numbers provided by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, peak stream flow in the Poudre River came earlier and was lower this year than any other year on record — dating back to 1957.

Peak streamflows in the South Platte River are not at all-time lows this year — that happened in 1954. But, according to Colorado Water Resources Division 1 Engineer Dave Nettles, the river’s peak flow this month was about three times less than it was in 2002 — the year of a historic drought that changed the way many producers and municipalities manage water.

Abundant stream flows are critical for farmers in Weld County, who grow crops in a semi-arid region and, therefore, rely heavily on snow from the mountains, which melts in the spring and dumps into the region’s rivers and fills irrigation ditches.

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