Those of you who frequent the path between Safeway and Rendezvous will recognize the spot in the photo where the Fraser runs along the retaining wall and wooden fence.
The Fraser has done what rivers do. The Fraser above Safeway has found a new channel and cut off the oxbow along the path. While flows have been falling since about July 4, the Fraser hasn’t really dried up…it’s moved. Rivers are dynamic, active, living things and the Fraser has shifted west from its “normal” path along the Fraser River Trail between Fraser and Winter Park. While this could be a preview of what might happen to the Fraser and other rivers if we don’t pay attention it’s not what it appears to be. The Fraser is flowing above and below this location. Trout Unlimited, along with other responsible environmental groups, have worked cooperatively with government entities and water diverters. We know we have made huge strides in securing the future of the Fraser.
Here’s a more in-depth explanation from CPW biologist Jon Ewert:
“All, we're getting reports and photos of dead fish on the Fraser, and it currently appears to be blowing up a bit on Facebook. I made a handful of calls to the town and got hold of the public works director who has been on site in person today. Here is what has happened. Now that runoff has peaked and is on its way back down, the river has cut off an oxbow (see the photo attached). The river has cut across the narrow piece of land in the photo and is forming a new channel there. As a result, the loop that goes right up against the bike path has gone basically dry today, as the river has dropped due to natural runoff decline. Because many people use that bike path, we may get more calls, and it's highly visible. There are some dead fish visible in the affected reach. This is a natural process that has occurred and is not the direct result of any human activity and is not anyone's "fault". The Fraser itself has not gone dry, and has a good amount of water in it for this time of year.”
(This is ironic because this time last year, Denver Water reduced flows in the Fraser to a level so low that fish were dying, and it was totally a matter of fault.)
For a Google Earth view of the area, click here.
If you have updates or more information, please add a comment.