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Two popular lakes north of Durango impacted by maintenance projects

Electra Lake is closed; Haviland Lake open but won’t be full
Electra Lake north of Durango will remain closed to recreation in 2021.

Two popular lakes for recreation north of Durango that were drained in 2019 will be impacted this summer as a result of maintenance projects.

Xcel Energy spokesman Randy Fordice said in an email to The Durango Herald that a continued maintenance project at Electra Lake will keep boats off the water and fishing off-limits this year.

Electra Lake, 23 miles north of Durango off U.S. Highway 550, is owned and operated by Xcel Energy. Water is transported from Electra Lake to the Tacoma Hydro Generation Station along the Animas River.

Xcel Energy is replacing more than a mile of old pipe that brings in water from Cascade Creek to the reservoir, Fordice said, as well as conducting maintenance and restoration work on the face of the dam.

Work includes “adding asphalt and replacing the waterproof membrane that covers the dam face,” Fordice wrote.

Xcel Energy is “optimistic” Electra Lake will reopen to recreation in 2022, Fordice wrote.

Fordice wrote Xcel Energy has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 85% in Colorado by 2030, with the aim of delivering 100% carbon-free electricity companywide by 2050.

“Part of this strategy includes using our emissions-free hydropower, such as the Tacoma Hydro Plant that uses the reservoir at Electra Lake,” he wrote. “We continue to conduct maintenance and repairs to ensure the hydro plant can continue to generate reliable, affordable, carbon-free electricity for our customers.”

Fordice declined a phone interview, as well as a tour of the construction project.

A call to the Electra Sporting Club, which administers recreation on Electra Lake, was not returned.

Haviland Lake will also be impacted by maintenance, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which manages the lake.

Haviland Lake was drained in 2019 so repairs could be made to the dam and outlet structure. That project was completed in summer 2020, and it was expected the lake would begin to refill this spring with this year’s runoff.

CPW, however, said an inspection at Haviland Lake last fall showed some additional compaction is needed around the dam outlet structure that was replaced last year.

A construction crew began that work this week, and the project should be completed by the end of the month. At that time, the outlet gate will be closed and the reservoir will begin to fill.

Haviland Lake will technically be open to the public, but it probably won’t be full, CPW said. The public must have the appropriate pass to be on state wildlife areas.

Camping at Haviland Lake is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and remains open.

jromeo@durangoherald.com

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