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Major Snowmelt Could Halt Dredging Project At Lake Dillon

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Lake Dillon on Monday (credit: CBS)

Lake Dillon on Monday (credit: CBS)

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FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s the largest reservoir serving Denver Water, but a major project planned for Lake Dillon could be stopped because of all the snowmelt gushing into the lake right now.

It’s bad news for the project, a long-term investment in the marina’s health, but it could be good news for tourism with a short-term return of the water.

“You would have been out almost to where you see the boats right now. So we really were down quite a bit in March,” Suzanne Lifgren with the Town of Frisco said.

In the shallow southern end of Lake Dillon, the Frisco Marina is at the mercy of the water level. The drought dropped the lake nearly 40 feet this winter, leaving the boats in Frisco hundreds of yards away.

“In order to do some bigger projects, bigger boats, those kinds of things, we need to get this a little bit deeper,” Lifgren said.

For years such as this one, the town wants to dredge the marina to make it deeper so operations aren’t so hampered when the water is low.

“This is an ideal year to get some work done,” Lifgren said.

But that can only be done when it’s dry. Now above average inflows are raising the lake, which is good for the kayak business, but not for the dredging project, which is still several months away from gaining all the necessary permits.

“In September and in the fall we’ll see the water recede again and it will provide us with a good opportunity.”

While the lake filling would make the dredging project harder to complete, the draw of a close shore line is essential for the town’s summer tourism.

“Water is always a good thing for us. We put systems in place so people can get out on the water no matter where the water was, and that’s part of our portable docking system. So that helps us a great deal, but it’s always better to have a shorter more intimate look with the water.”

The town is still waiting for permits from the Army Corp of Engineers and final plans with Denver Water, which would gain storage capacity.

The town wants to move the dirt from the marina area and place it in another area. A long-term goal would include a boardwalk-style setting.

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