Aspen Journalism is compiling a data dashboard highlighting metrics of local public interest, updated weekly by mid-day Tuesday.
Crystal River’s streamflow is about 20% down from last week’s peak
The Crystal River above Avalanche Creek, near Redstone, flowed at 1,350 cfs, or about 106.3% of average, on June 19. That’s down from June 12 when the river reached the peak of 1,770 cfs.
Downstream, the Crystal River at the CPW Fish Hatchery bridge ran at 1,680 cfs on June 19, down from 2,100 cfs on June 12, which was the river’s peak streamflow, besting what many observers believed would be an earlier peak around May 19. After the June 12 peak, streamflow dropped to 1,270 cfs on June 16 before going back up to 1,680 cfs on June 19.
Meanwhile, the USGS gauge on the Roaring Fork River near Aspen at Stillwater, located upstream of town, measured streamflow at 207 cfs on June 19, which is 45.9% of average. That’s down from last week, when the river was flowing at 240 cfs. On June 19, 2021, the river ran at 155 cfs.
Lake Powell’s elevation gained one foot in three days
Lake Powell‘s storage remains at one of its lowest levels recorded since it began filling in the 1960s. However, the amount of water stored in the reservoir increased over the past month, as the annual runoff boosted river flows.
On June 15 (the latest available data), the reservoir was 27.56% full. On June 12, it was 27.3% full. The reservoir’s capacity has fallen since last year, when on June 15, 2021, it was 34.78% of full.
On June 15, Lake Powell’s elevation reached 3.537.2 feet, or 162.8 feet from full pool, up from 3,536.2 feet on June 12. Last year, on June 15, the reservoir reached 3.561.78 feet, or 138.22 feet from full pool. The surface elevation of Lake Powell came back up above the target elevation of 3,525 feet on May 16, after dipping below it on March 15.
The “minimum power pool” for turbines generating hydropower at the Glen Canyon Dam is 3,490 feet, and 3,525 feet has been set as a buffer to ensure that the reservoir and the turbines can continue to function properly.
Snowpack at Indy and McClure Passes is still there
Snowpack in the Roaring Fork Basin was at around 14% of average on June 19, according to NOAA.
SNOTEL sites that monitor snowfall measured the snowpack at Independence Pass at 59.1% of average on June 19, with a “snow water equivalent” (SWE) of 0.12 inches — which is the same amount of SWE as last week, but it represents a higher percent of average than a week ago. Last year on June 19, the SNOTEL station up the pass (located at elevation 10,600 feet) recorded an SWE of 0 inches.
The monitoring station at McClure Pass recorded a SWE of 0.2 inches on June 19. Last year, on June 12, the station measured a snowpack holding 0 inches of water.
On the northeast side of the Roaring Fork Basin, snowpack at Ivanhoe is now gone with 0 inches on June 19.
Snowpack at Schofield Pass reached 0 inches on June 19. Schofield Pass’ snowpack has been below average for about a month. Schofield Pass sits at an elevation of 10,700 feet between Marble and Crested Butte.
Snow water equivalent — the metric used to track snowpack — is the amount of water contained within the snowpack.
June’s high temperatures have been above normal
High temperatures at the Aspen airport have been above normal each day so far in June, except for June 14. Maximum air temperature reached up to 87°F on June 11, which is about 15 degrees above normal, according to temperatures recorded at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. The minimum ranged from 35°F on June 15, which is about six degrees below normal, to 53°F on June 12, about 13 degrees above normal.
Air quality was worsened early last week by Arizona wildfires
The air quality in Aspen was “good” this past week besides June 13 and 14, when air quality was moderate and the AQI index reached 74 for PM2.5and 71 for ozone, respectively. The “moderate” air quality was due to smoke coming from Arizona wildfires.
For the remainder of the week, the AQI index for PM2.5 ranged from 15 on June 15 to 47 on June 17.
- Colorado’s Division of Water Resources
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District
- Aspen Global Change Institute