Due to low flows in the Colorado River, the River Park channel at Las Colonias has been blocked off with sandbags. The park is still open for use but water is more stagnant, creating a different experience for people who come out to enjoy the park. Water levels in the Colorado River have been dropping continuously over the past few weeks largely due to reduced run-off.
“The River Park is still open,” stated Ken Sherbenou, Parks and Recreation director. “However, you’re no longer able to float in an innertube, standup paddleboard, or kayak. It’s more floating in the pools of water rather than moving with the current of the river.”
The sandbags are placed just downstream of the Las Colonias boat ramp and at the beginning of the River Park channel. This not only helps divert the water during drought conditions but also protects habitat for endangered fish. When water levels in the Colorado River drop below 810 cubic feet per second (cfs), the River Park channel has to be cut off from the main channel to protect the critical habitat for the four endangered fish species in the Colorado River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife authorized the construction of the River Park channel and issued a permit that enabled its construction. The permit requires the city to cut off flows into the River Park channel when they are below 810 cfs.
“The River Park is not only a recreational feature, it plays a very important role in providing habitat for endangered native fish species,” continued Sherbenou. “We ask visitors who still want to come to the River Park to leave the sandbags intact and in position to provide protection for the endangered fish until water levels increase.”
The River Park channel was developed first and foremost as an ecological enhancement to create additional aquatic and riparian areas and recreation was a secondary factor. The Colorado River dropping below 810 cfs is not uncommon this time of year.
Contact: Sara Spaulding, Communications & Engagement Director | 970-985-8180 or firstname.lastname@example.org