It's Runoff Season!
Snowcatcher and I just returned from New Mexico where we participated in the Santa Fe Century bike ride and Gran Fondo. The following blog has photos from several rides I took prior to heading south. Since it's raining cats and dogs today, I thought some high water pics appropriate. I'll get some Santa Fe pics up shortly.
Thank you Wheat Ridge Cyclery and Team Evergreen for a much needed surprise!!
Lately, stream flows have been very high, thanks to numerous spring showers and snow melt. Having a BS and MS in hydrology, I like this time of year because it's when things "happen" in stream channels, excluding beaver work. Normally, summer flows are too low to do much from a geomorphic standpoint.
A family of beaver reside along this stretch and they've been very busy this year. However, it appears all their work has been washed downstream. I think they have a lot of large log debris to remove before they rebuild.
We're receiving additional rain today. My guess is Deer Creek still looks like this. I should probably go for a ride and take a gander.
The following pics are from an evening mountain bike ride up Waterton Canyon. Denver Water is releasing a lot of water from Strontia Springs Reservoir and Chatfield Reservoir is filling fast.
The ephemeral streams are getting a workout this year.
The Strontia Springs Dam is currently releasing a lot of water. The normal flow gates are at the base of the dam. Denver Water is releasing down the spillway too. Flows of the South Platte River are highly regulated. Maintaining normal and flood flows down a series of daisy chained reservoirs is a complicated process. For example, what happens if one of the reservoirs is allowed to fill completely, and inflow now equals outflow? Hopefully the next reservoir handles it. What happens if all the reservoirs fill completely and rain and runoff continue? Or, the opposite may happen during drought. What if demand is higher than inflow and you can't fill the reservoirs? If the drought continues, more than yards may become thirsty. There are lots of hydrologic tools and regressions based on historic data to help the water schedulers; but, finding a happy medium is not easy.
It was getting dark while Snowcatcher and I waited out a small thunderstorm. We had a good vantage point for watching lightning dance along the ridgeline.