THE RIVER ROUNDUP – FRCC’s River Stewardship News Vol #5: 4/4/2017

The Rocks above Campground PoolThe Rocks above Campground Pool

Barkhamsted is under a flood watch! Now there are some words we have not heard often in the past year. The combination of warm temperatures yesterday (Monday April 3, 2017) melting the snow from a late winter Nor’easter, about an inch of rain today, and more rain in the forecast for Thursday, has this watch in effect until Saturday morning for parts of Northwest Connecticut.

Satans Kingdom on the Farmington River in higher waterSatans Kingdom

Route 44 Bridge in Satans Kingdom on the Farmington RiverRoute 44 Bridge in Satans Kingdom

In a previous year characterized by lack of rain and drought conditions, the fact that the Farmington River’s flows are back up again is a welcome sight. Here are some flow statistics from the USGS gauges today:

  • The Unionville gauge reads 2460 cfs as of 4:30 this afternoon. This gauge is important for our area because it is the first gauge downriver after Sandy Brook flows into the Farmington below Riverton.
  • Sandy Brook gauge reads 1100 cfs. The gauge is located after the confluence of the Still River and Sandy Brook. This tributary of the Farmington River can have a major impact on flows below Riverton where it joins the Farmington. The last time we saw flows above 1100 cfs on Sandy Brook was February 26, 2016 – over one year ago!
  • The Farmington River gauge in Riverton reads 301 cfs. This is the dam controlled flow above the confluence of Sandy Brook.

Still River Gorge, a class V kayakers dreamStill River Gorge

Good news is also coming in from the MDC. As of this morning, the Colebrook Reservoir is now exceeding the average level for this date by approximately 5 feet. Tracking indicates it will continue to rise above normal. The pool is now approximately 13 feet below authorized full storage, but rising quickly. Expect it to gain at least 2 feet by tomorrow AM with current levels of inflow.

Confluence of Sandy Brook and the Still River, CTConfluence of Sandy Brook and the Still River

As I write this, the FRCC is getting ready for another busy summer and the continuation of the river steward program. We will again have a team of stewards out on the river engaging users and helping keep the Farmington River clean. With the wildlife, vegetation and recreation on the river so dependent on water flows, I am excited the water levels are returning to a more normal flow for this time of year. However, I remain cautiously optimistic because the weather patterns can very quickly change. For the time being though, it is nice to see healthy flows back in our rivers and streams.

Lower Sandy Brook above the Farmington RiverLower Sandy Brook

Written by:

Stephan Bastrzycki
FRCC – River Steward

Spring flows are up on the Farmington and Still Rivers from Farmington Steward on Vimeo.