CPW Cautions Public to Avoid Arkansas River Below Lake Pueblo Due to Surging Water Flows


Arkansas River June 2023


PUEBLO, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife and its partner agencies are urging the public to avoid the Arkansas River below the Lake Pueblo State Park dam as flows have exceeded 3,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) due to recent normal runoff from spring snow melt in the mountains and locally heavy rains.

Arkansas, Closer to Pueblo

CPW, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s office and the City of Pueblo Fire Department are warning that the currents in the river below the dam are fluctuating dramatically, causing surges in the water levels. And the water is extremely cold below the dam – just 58 degrees – because of the spring runoff from the high mountains around the Upper Arkansas River Valley.

“We urge everyone to stay out of the river until the flows calm down,” said Joe Stadterman, CPW’s park manager at Lake Pueblo. “And anyone fishing along the banks should wear life jackets. This is an especially important time to be safe around the river.”

Spring runoff from snowmelt typically causes water levels in Lake Pueblo, in the Arkansas River below the dam and through the city of Pueblo to jump dramatically. Recent heavy rains have compounded the surge of water into the lake forcing heavier than normal releases from the dam.

This week, water is being released at a rate of about 3,365 cfs. That translates to a discharge rate equal to one cubic foot of water per second or about 7.5 gallons per second. Prior to this surge, water was being discharged at just about 200 cfs or less.

“The tailwaters below the dam are a popular place to fish and tube,” Stadterman said. “But this is not a safe time for any activities in the water. Everyone should wait until this river advisory is lifted and the flows are back to normal.”

The partner agencies expect the river advisory to remain in place for at least a week. Please await further information as to when flows are reduced and the river is back to normal levels.

CPW manages recreation at Lake Pueblo in partnership with its owner, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The bureau built Lake Pueblo in 1970-75 as part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas water diversion, storage and delivery project. It provides West Slope water to upwards of 1 million Front Range residents, primarily in southeastern Colorado, as well as agricultural irrigation.

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of LamarCountyEnvironmentFeaturedPublic SafetyRecreation


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