Abundant rains lift Lake Granby to levels not seen for a decade | SkyHiNews.com

Abundant rains lift Lake Granby to levels not seen for a decade

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado

Where Canadian thistles and mayflower weeds once carpeted the shore of Lake Granby, this year there is water.

“It’s so much prettier. People see it and want to rent boats,” said Laurie Hedgecock of Highland Marina on Lake Granby.

She and husband Paul, whose parents first bought the business in 1984, haven’t seen water levels at normal since before 2000.

Even though overall tourism may be lagging because of the economy this summer, the Hedgecoks are convinced the reservoir’s higher water level has given their business a boost.

For nearly a decade, the Hedgecocks have had to locate Highland Marina boat slips clear on the other side of Fish Island, about a mile from the marina, which is located at the shore of “Fish Bay.”

Slip renters would have to drive their cars to the docks and would often complain about the dust that had accumulated on their boats.

Highland is permitted for 100 slips and 100 mooring balls. This year – with boats kept at the marina – all 100 slips are rented out along with the marina’s maximum number of buoys. Having them in the bay allows for better wind protection, Laurie said.

And boat rentals and retail sales are up, attributed to the higher visibility of blue water and the marina’s piers from the highway.

A healthy spring runoff brought Lake Granby back to its former glory.

At present, the lake is at an elevation of 8,276 feet, or about 4 feet (about 29,000 acre feet) from being full, according to Noble Underbrink, department manager of the Farr Pumping Plant of Lake Granby.

The last time the reservoir was in that range was in 2000. Prior to that, the lake was close to or above that level each year.

“This puts us back to normal since the perceived drought of 2001,” Underbrink said. In years since, the lake elevation was about 10 feet below where it is now, a level that can make a drastic difference to reservoir shores.

Precipitation on the Front Range where water is delivered from Lake Granby, he added, decreased the need to draw water. The plant is pumping water at night to maintain elevation levels in Grand Lake; meanwhile Lake Granby remains stable, fluctuating by about 100th of 1 foot.

Underbrink said he doesn’t expect Lake Granby to spill this year, unless there is an abundance of rain during the remainder of the summer. The last time the reservoir was completely full was in 1998.

“We’re finally back up to a beautiful recreation level on Granby.” Underbrink said.

“A full lake is a beautiful lake.”

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@skyhidailynews.com.

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