Lemon Reservoir

Rain on Snow Brings Much-Needed Flush to Florida River!

Thirteen years ago, in June 2002, the Missionary Ridge Fire in southwest Colorado burned for 39 days and consumed nearly 73,000 acres, including 56 homes. One firefighter lost his life. The skies were dark and thick with smoke, and in the aftermath, there was debris, mud, soot, and trees strewn in the river channel below Lemon Dam. Thanks to the heavy May precipitation this year, John Ey, Lemon Dam Superintendent, was able to make high releases from the reservoir and flush the Florida River channel. This provided a much-needed cleansing to the river, which had been unable to be accomplished in recent years due to prolonged drought conditions that have occurred since the 2002 fire. The extended high releases will provide numerous benefits to the river and ecosystem. Benefits include improved aquatic food base and spawning habitat, riverside vegetation, and wildlife habitat.

June 13, 2015--Vallecito release has homeowners on edge (Durango Herald)

Hydrologists opened the spigots Friday on Vallecito Reservoir, releasing more water than typically considered safe to keep up with recent rainstorms. Emergency workers monitored high-water conditions on several streams and rivers throughout La Plata County.

September 28, 2013--Storms lift water levels at reservoirs (Durango Herald)

Never underestimate the effects of monsoonal rains. The storms that have swept through La Plata County in recent weeks more than doubled the amount of water in Vallecito and Lemon reservoirs this month. Reports from the Bureau of Reclamation show the reservoirs stood at 21 and 14 percent of capacity, respectively, on Aug. 31.

March 21, 2013--Water world: Dust to dust (Durango Telegraph)

With persistent drought conditions across Colorado and low reservoir levels in the southwest, water resource managers are looking at a potentially long and arid summer. Following a dry 2012, the warmest year on record, reservoir levels were already on the low side. Reservoir storage exactly one year ago sat at 104 percent of average, which helped the area get through late summer shortages.

December 14, 2012--The man who sows snow (Durango Herald)

When Mother Nature brought snow to the San Juan Mountains late Thursday, Larry Hjermstad fired up clouding-seeding generators to increase the bounty. Hjermstad, calculating wind direction, started generators near Lemon Dam and Bayfield to benefit Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort.

June 9, 2012--The forest recovers (Durango Herald)

A decade after the Missionary Ridge wildfire chewed through most of 72,962 acres from Hermosa to Bayfield, the landscape is a patchwork of the beautiful and the beastly. Stands of verdant aspen and Gambel oak contrast with hillsides of blackened sticks that were ponderosa pine and other conifers.

June 8, 2012--Missionary Ridge after ten years (Pine River Times)

The winter and spring have been dry this year, but not like in 2002. Vallecito reservoir is full this year, although irrigators are already going on storage water. Ten years ago in La Plata County, there was no spring runoff, and Vallecito topped out at 64,000 acre feet, about half full. The north part of the reservoir was mud flat. The same with Lemon reservoir.

Forests-to-Faucets Teacher Training Workshop (Durango, Silverton, and Surrounding Area)

06/26/2012 8:30 am
06/27/2012 5:30 pm

Join the Mountain Studies Institute, San Juan Mountain Association, and the Water Information Program for two days of hands-on exploration of our locaal watersheds. The Workshop is based on the My Water Comes from the San Juan Mountains book and curriculum guide which includes place-based activities that address Colorado State Standards.

August 31, 2010--Industry plans tap reservoirs as substitute for groundwater (Durango Herald)

State regulators have approved plans by the natural-gas industry to replace water it depletes from streams with water from Vallecito and Lemon reservoirs. The Substitute Water Supply Plans by a coalition of gas companies won approval from the State Engineer's office in June.

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