Best prediction of Uncompahgre River peak flow will earn stand-up paddle board package

Atlasta Solar Center, Sol Paddle Boards, Jack’s Plastic Welding, Alpacka Rafts, CKS Online contribute prizes to support watershed restoration

The Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership (UWP) is challenging anyone who has ever floated on, stepped foot in or driven over the Uncompahgre River to predict when it will hit its peak flow this May or June. The scenic river will reach its maximum natural flows above the Ridgway Reservoir for 2022, when runoff from snowmelt from the San Juan Mountains is at its greatest. For the second year, people can win prizes by entering a prediction of the river’s peak flow date and time in the Uncompahgre River Classic.

The Classic is a fundraising activity of the UWP, a Ouray County nonprofit dedicated to watershed protection, restoration and education activities. The Uncompahgre River flows from the headwaters above Silverton through Ouray, Ridgway, Montrose, Olathe and Delta until it joins the Gunnison River to flow into the Colorado River. The upper reaches of the Uncompahgre support wildlife, agriculture, recreational activities, commercial operations, and other uses, but the water quality is damaged by metals from abandoned mines and threatened by climate change and population growth.

Educating people about the river’s ecology, such as seasonal changes and the impact of drought, is one of UWP’s goals with the Uncompahgre River Classic. Another goal is to thank river lovers and watershed stewards for their knowledge of the Uncompahgre, by rewarding them with river toys and gear from regional small businesses. Atlasta Solar Center of Grand Junction and Montrose paid for the grand prize package valued at $1,358, a Carbon GalaXy SOLtrain Inflatable Paddle Board, leash, paddle and bag from Telluride-based Sol Paddle Boards.

“At Atlasta Solar Center, we’re very community centered. On the Western Slope, we have a very strong sense of community, so our company wants to do anything we can to foster that sense of community,” said Marketing Manager Matt Fowler. “Not only our customers but also our employees live, work and play on the Western Slope. They are the folks who will be out and enjoying the rivers and the natural resources we are so fortunate to have here, so we want to do as much as we can to protect those resources.”

The second place prize valued at $430 is a Paco Grande Pad and collapsible bucket bag from Jack’s Plastic Welding of Aztec, N.M. The third place prize is a $150 Gift Card and tote bag from Alpacka Raft of Mancos, Colo., fourth place prize is a $100 Gift Card from CKS Online of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and fifth place prize is a Ridgway RiverFest shirt and Yeti Mug.

Peak flow prediction entry forms can be purchased for $10 per prediction or $25 for four predictions. The deadline for entries is May 1, the peak flow is expected to happen between May 2 and June 24, and the prize winners will be announced on June 25 at the Ridgway RiverFest.

Information and entry forms for the Uncompahgre River Classic are at