Aspen Journalism is compiling a data dashboard highlighting metrics of local public interest, updated weekly.
Most streamflows are above average
Aspen Journalism is compiling real time streamflow data. You can find all the featured stations from the dashboard with their real-time streamflow on this webpage.
At Stillwater, located upstream of Aspen, the Roaring Fork River ran at 316 cfs, or 79.8% of average on June 11. That’s down from 337 cfs and 105% of average on May 29.
The USGS sensor below Maroon Creek recorded the Fork running at 1,270 cfs on June 11, or 122.1% of average. That’s up from 1,160 cfs on May 29.
At Emma, below the confluence with the dam-controlled Fryingpan, the June 11 streamflow of 2,080 cfs represented about 106.7% of average. That’s up from 1,830 cfs, but down from 124.5% of average, on May 29.
The transbasin diversion that sends Roaring Fork basin headwaters east of the Continental Divide was flowing at 412 cfs on June 7, up from 402 cfs on May 29.
Meanwhile, the Crystal River above Avalanche Creek, which is not impacted by dams or transbasin diversions, flowed at 1,740 cfs, or 135.9% of average, on June 11. Two weeks ago, the river ran at 1,730 cfs, or 153.1% of average.
The Colorado River ran at 11,800 cfs at Glenwood Springs, or 112.4% of average on June 11, up from 11,500 cfs two weeks ago, while the Colorado flowed at 22,800 cfs near the Colorado-Utah stateline, or 123.9% of average.
Snowpack at Schofield Pass still holding about 14 inches of water
Snowpack in the Roaring Fork basin has dropped from last week, reaching an average of 2.2 inches of snow-water equivalent per site on June 11, according to NRCS.
The monitoring station near Independence Pass, located at elevation 10,600 feet, has been recording a SWE of zero inches since June 4 after gaining 0.3 inches of SWE on June 2.
The SNOTEL stations at McClure Pass (elevation 8,770), Ivanhoe (10,400) and North Lost Trail (9,219) recorded a snowpack holding less than a quarter of an inch of water, from 0.1 inches on June 11 for McClure Pass to 0.2 inches for that day for Ivanhoe and North Lost Trail.
Meanwhile, snowpack at Schofield Pass reached 14.4 inches on June 11. That’s down from 27.1 inches on May 29. 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, which will become our future water supply running in local rivers and streams.
Lake Powell keeps filling
Lake Powell‘s water levels began their seasonal rise in mid-March as warming temperatures initiated snowmelt, after the reservoir in the winter dropped to its lowest level on record since filling. On June 12, the reservoir was 35.57% full (with a total capacity based on a 1986 sedimentation survey) or 37.1% full (based on updated 2017-18 sedimentation data). That’s up from May 29, when the nation’s second-largest reservoir was at 31.65% of capacity (1986 data) or 33.02% (based on 2017-18 data).
On July 1, 2022, the Bureau of Reclamation revised its data on the amount of water stored in Lake Powell, with a new, lower tally taking into account a 4% drop in the reservoir’s total available capacity between 1986 and 2018 due to sedimentation. Aspen Journalism in July published a story explaining the that drop in storage due to sedimentation.
Last year, on June 11, 2022, the reservoir was 27.21% full (based on 1986 data).
On June 11, Lake Powell’s elevation reached 3,571.8 feet, or 128.3 feet from full pool, up from 3,558.7 feet on May 29. Last year, on June 11, the reservoir reached 3,535.9 feet in elevation, or 164.1 feet from full pool.
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.
Air temperatures on par with normal
High air temperatures at the Aspen airport are close to normal as they went up to 72°F on May 29 and June 6, or about four and two degrees above normal, respectively. High air temperature dropped on June 2 to 45°F due to a storm. Meanwhile, low temperatures ranged between 37°F and 43°F in the past two weeks.
Aspen air remains clean
The air quality in Aspen was “good” in the past two weeks. The AQI index ranged from 32 on June 2 to 50 for ozone on June 9.
- Colorado’s Division of Water Resources
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District
- Aspen Global Change Institute