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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

Low snowpack means below normal stream flows in Roaring Fork Valley

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy
Aspen Public Radio

Stream flows in the Roaring Fork watershed are slowly creeping upward, but the effects of this winter’s low snowpack are already showing.


Snowpack in the Roaring Fork watershed this year peaked at about 80 percent of normal, and that means experts project that stream flows will be significantly below average, as well.

River levels in the Roaring Fork Valley are rising this week, as warmer temperatures and April sunshine speed up snowmelt and runoff. But they are still well below average. Liza Mitchell of Roaring Fork Conservancy said they’ll be keeping an eye on how low stream flows dip this year.


“Low flows can be bad for us, ecologically speaking, also just in terms of our economies and recreation that’s based on that,” Mitchell said.

The Roaring Fork River is currently running as low as 68 percent of average in the lower valley. Peak runoff is expected to be earlier than normal this year, too; that usually happens in late May or early June.


Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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