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Steamboat Magazine

Commercial & Voluntary River Closure Enacted

07/08/2021 12:37PM ● By City of Steamboat Springs

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLORADO – Water temperatures in the Yampa River are on the rise moving above the allowed threshold and triggering the City of Steamboat Springs to enact commercial and voluntary recreational closures for the Yampa River starting at 12:01am, Thursday, July 8, 2021. The closure will remain in effect until rescinded.

“The recent rains have enabled the community to enjoy the river through the holiday weekend, but conditions have reached critical criteria and a closure is warranted,” said Craig Robinson, Parks, Open Space & Trails Manager. “While we don’t take a mandatory closure lightly, all our efforts go toward the long-term health of our number one natural resource.”

Due to high water temperatures and low flow in the Yampa River, the City of Steamboat Springs is implementing closures for all commercial activities on the Yampa River and asking the public to abide by a voluntary closure for all recreational river use.

The Yampa River experienced water temperatures greater than 75 degrees for two consecutive days, July 6 & 7, which exceeds the threshold for a mandatory river closure as outlined in the Yampa River Management Plan. 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. Stream flows are currently hovering around 100 cubic feet per second (cfs). However, it is anticipated based on current trends to continue dropping and fall below the 85 cfs level in the coming week.

All commercial outfitting operations are suspended under the closure. 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. 

In addition to the mandatory closure of commercial activities on the Yampa River through Steamboat Springs, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is initiating a voluntary fishing closure between the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area and the western edge of the city. CPW and the city is asking anglers to find alternative places to fish to protect the popular fishery. CPW reminds the public that the mandatory fishing closure on a six-tenth mile section of the Yampa River below Stagecoach Reservoir remains in effect, enforced by law.

Notices will be posted at popular river access points and request everyone’s cooperation in protecting the Yampa River by staying out of the river until conditions improve.  The health and protection of the Yampa River rates high with residents. Thank you for Respecting the Yampa.