Peak flow of Uncompahgre River above Ridgway Reservoir recorded on June 5

Winners of Inaugural Uncompahgre River Classic announced July 11

Diedra Silbert of Ridgway, Colo. is the grand prize winner of the Uncompahgre River Classic, with the closest prediction of when the Uncompahgre River above Ridgway Reservoir reached its peak flow from 2021 snowmelt. The actual peak flow date was June 5 at 11 p.m., which followed the average trend for the past 10 years, and Silbert guessed June 5 at 11:45 p.m.

The Classic is a new fundraiser organized by the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership (UWP) to help fund its nonprofit operations aimed at protecting and improving the natural, scenic and economic resources of the Upper Uncompahgre River Watershed. From March 15 to May 10, classic entries were purchased for $5 each or a discounted rate for multiple entries. Each entry was a prediction of the date and time that the river would reach its peak flow from runoff from snowmelt at the U.S. Geological Survey gauge #09146200.

As grand prize winner, Silbert will receive a Ouray Via Ferrata guided trip for up to four people from Basecamp Ouray, a two-night stay at Ridgway Lodge & Suites, and a $150 gift certificate for dinner at Four Corners Restaurant & Sky Bar in Chipeta Solar Springs Resort. The second closest peak flow prediction of June 5 at 10 p.m. was made by Jamie Gomez who wins the second prize, a Patagonia 40L duffel bag from RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service. The third closest peak flow prediction of June 5 at 9:15 p.m. was made by Raleigh Coburn who wins the third prize, four soaking passes to Orvis Hot Springs.

The next seven runners up who round out the top 10 closest predictions were: Pat Willits, Cameron White, Ames Risch, Cameron White, Angela Unruh, Deedee Decker, and Jim Colby.

If two people had predicted the same date and time, the tie breaker would have been a prediction of the flow rate of the peak flow this year. A tie breaker was not necessary, but the actual rate of the peak flow as recorded by the selected gauge was 1,260 cubic feet per second.

In addition to financial support of UWP’s programs, the fundraiser was an opportunity to educate the public about river science such as flow rates, spring runoff, drought, and conservation. The Uncompaghre River starts in the San Juan Mountains north of Silverton, runs north through the Ouray Hydrodam and the city of Ouray, then passes through Ridgway before settling in the reservoir at Ridgway State Park. The gauge station upstream of the reservoir was selected for the Classic, because flows below the reservoir’s dam are highly controlled and don’t represent flows from actual runoff. Flows below the dam also have much more fluctuation from irrigation diversions and canals.

The Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership was established as a nonprofit in Ouray County in 2013, and is funded through a combination of grants, donations and fundraising events. Its programs are focused on five goals: monitoring and improving water quality; improve and maintain riverine ecosystem function; improving seasonal low flows and water supply; promoting awareness of watershed science and conditions to diverse stakeholders and the general public; and providing scientific guidance for and support sustainable recreation opportunities. The next fundraiser is the Ridgway RiverFest, a community celebration and watershed education event planned for August 28, 2021.