U.S. Bureau of Reclamation work at Paonia Reservoir is progressing. Work began this autumn to repair the reservoir's damaged intake structure of the dam's outlet works.
The 199-foot dam was constructed in 1962 and the dam itself is sound. According to the project's Environmental Assessment (EA), workers will dismantle the damaged upper concrete portions of the intake structure and replace it with modified aluminum support members and a trash rack.
In August the Bureau projected to complete repairs in November and so far the work appears to be ahead of schedule. In September the reservoir was temporarily drained in order to repair the intake structure. Intake repairs are now complete and filling the reservoir began Oct. 12.
According to Steve Fletcher, superintendent of the Fire Mountain Canal and Reservoir Company, the work was completed about three weeks ahead of schedule and "went better than anticipated."
With temporary repairs completed, the Bureau will turn its attention to managing sediment accumulation in the reservoir and the release of downstream sediment. Sediment management will begin with "flushing flows" to be conducted in spring 2018.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.