Friday, July 24, 2015

WARNING: Significant River Hazard on Colorado River

Significant River Hazard In Colorado River, Downstream From Blue Heron

Mesa County, Colo. -- The Colorado River buckles and churns in many nooks and crannies right now, but one area stands out to deputies, prompting this public notice and warning. Multiple large cottonwood trees no longer stand tall, but have fallen into the river causing rafts and tubes to easily become entangled in the mighty debris field.

The exact location on the Colorado River is, 39 07.054, -108 41.219, and it's almost due south of 20 1/2 Road.

Those floating and recreating on the Colorado River downstream from the Blue Heron boat ramp should stay river right where the channel splits. It may be tempting to some to go river left, as this channel is typically too shallow for most of the year, but full enough currently to accommodate rafters. Getting down this channel is extremely dangerous right now though, due to the unstable debris field.

The hazard is a series of three obstructions (strainers) -- the first is a single cottonwood tree upon which a blue raft is currently pinned, the second is three large cottonwoods (approximately 30", 36" and 48" diameter) intertwined with one another and a final rootball snag with mostly older/dead limbs.

The main current flows through the trees and is likely to become more dangerous as the water level decreases.

"I would expect further narrowing of the channel as we saw from yesterday (July 23) to today with the main flow being concentrated toward the strainers," Deputy Ben Lawrence said.

The water depth throughout the hazard is approximately 4 to 6 feet with a very significant whirlpool at the downstream end, Deputy Lawrence said.


B roll video is available for media use on our YouTube channel (MCSO PIO), credit: Mesa County Sheriff's Office. A folder of photos from the scene will be loaded on our Facebook page and they can be used for media purposes with proper credit, as well.