Yampa River flows have again dropped below healthy levels triggering the City of Steamboat Springs to reinstate commercial and voluntary recreational closures effective immediately.
“Based upon the current weather forecast and without additional water releases, river levels are expected to continue to trend downward in the coming days,” said Brad Setter, Open Space, Trails, Rodeo and Howelsen Hill Supervisor. “As closures return, we’re again asking for everyone’s help in protecting the community’s number one natural resource.”
Water levels have consistently dropped since August 23 and are currently hovering around 70 cubic feet per second (cfs). Water temperatures have floated between highs in the mid to upper 60s, peaking at 70 degrees on August 26. Low water flows, high water temperatures, and low levels of dissolved oxygen are all unfavorable conditions to aquatic life and any one of these factors can trigger a closure.
Commercial tubing companies have suspended operations at this time. River users – tubers, SUPers, swimmers, anglers – are requested to adhere to the voluntary closure and avoid river recreation. The voluntary fishing closure is in effect within city limits as well as at the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area. Please be mindful of the impacts your actions may have on the Yampa River and its wildlife.
Earlier in the summer, the Yampa River closed due to high water temperatures and low flows from July 9 through August 17. After water releases from local agencies and the return of rain, the river rose to acceptable levels and reopened for ten days. However, current levels have again deteriorated below acceptable limits.
Notices will be posted at popular river access points and requests everyone’s cooperation in protecting the Yampa River by staying out of the river until conditions improve. City staff will continue to monitor flows and river temperatures at the 5th Street Bridge. Water temperature monitoring was incorporated in November 2017 through a partnership with Mt. Werner Water, the Colorado River District and the USGS.
Thank you for Respecting the Yampa and helping to protect the health of the river.
Brad Setter, Open Space, Trails, Rodeo and Howelsen Hill Supervisor, 970.879.4300 or email
Kelly Romero-Heaney, Water Resources Manager, 970.871.8205 or email
Jenny Carey, Open Space & Trails Coordinator, 970.871.7014 or email