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Whitewater Flows Secured in New Weber River Dam License! (UT)

Posted: 03/24/2021
By: Kevin Colburn

A new 40-year license for a dam on Utah's Weber River includes four Saturday paddling releases each year prior to July 15, as well as flow information, accesss, and fish passage enhancements. This outcome is the result of American Whitewater staff and volunteers intensively collaborating with the power company and other stakeholders over the past several years. The releases will provide relatively rare paddling opportunities near Ogden, Utah, in a region where dams and diversions have limited or eliminated many paddling opportunities. The "Scambled Eggs" section that will benefit from the releases is on public US Forest Service land and is class IV at likely release levels, which will vary based on inflow. The new license requires a recreation plan be developed and other measures that will delay the initiation of releases until 2022. 

While we have to wait a bit for releases, Pacificorp has launched their online flow information page well ahead of schedule. In many years the flow diversion eliminates all of the spring snowmelt flows, but we encourage paddlers to keep an eye on the gage and enjoy the river if possible. We'd love some pictures, video and reports of the river at different flows. The hydropower project diverts up to 320cfs, and releases can only pass inflows (versus releasing a greater amount from storage). So releases could have a wide range of flows, with the power company ceasing their diversion to put the river back in the river. At lower flows that will be most likely as release volumes the river is technical and creeky (video) and of course at higher flows it becomes a big water run (video). At or near the end of the run is an irrigation dam that diverts most or all of the river once again, and that requires portaging on river left. 

Big thanks to all our partners on the Weber, our lead volunteer Charlie Vincent, and the numerous volunteers who helped us collect data and solve legal and other challenges over the years! See you on the Weber next year! 

 

Kevin Colburn

Asheville, NC

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Weber River Hydropower

Relicensing the Weber River Hydroelectric Project, near Ogden Utah.

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