On March 17th we participated in the Flaming Gorge Working Meeting to better understand the proposed inflows, outflows and potential releases for the Flaming Gorge dam and the Upper Colorado Basin. We are participating in meetings like these to understand and influence the policies that are resulting in dangerously low water levels in Lake Powell and throughout the Colorado River Basin.
It’s interesting to see from the following chart the unregulated inflow each year and although 2022 is predicted to be “Moderately Dry” There have been years much more dry with water levels higher than what they currently are. The second chart shows unregulated inflow into Lake Powell.
For Flaming Gorge there are three proposed Experimental Releases for 1. Smallmouth bass, 2. Experimental base flows and 3. Colorado Pikeminnow.
The Dingell Act designated many miles of the Green River which is located downstream from Flaming Gorge and upstream from Lake Powell, as Wild and Scenic which requires the flow (cfs) of the river to not go below a certain point which means Flaming Gorge dam has to release 850 cfs consistently.
We don’t want to see recreation at Flaming Gorge reservoir suffer as a result of saving recreation at Lake Powell, however, we believe that experimental releases are a policy area that needs more scrutiny. Experimental releases are, after all, experimental. During a historic drought, it is reasonable to ask if mandatory experimental releases of water is the best policy.