The Frisco Bay Marina is open for the season with some operational changes in place to accommodate extremely low water levels in the Dillon Reservoir this year. Marina staff have established and opened Dock Island for boat storage customers with availability of an on-call courtesy shuttle, a courtesy dock, and free dinghy storage to facilitate the process of getting boaters between the main dock and their boats.
So Why Dock Island?
Marina staff use data from Denver Water’s operational plan for the Dillon Reservoir, released each month. This plan takes into account the snowpack from the winter, and models three different weather forecast scenarios – normal, dry, and wet weather. For each of these reports, staff closely watch the end-of-month elevation number, which helps predict how deep the Frisco Bay will be. Predictions for June range from a high of 9,016’ under the “wet” scenario to a low of 9,012’ under the “dry” scenario. While these elevation numbers look promising, they peak in June and drop throughout the summer months in all scenarios. Combined with low snowpack from this winter season, the reservoir will not fill this year.
During a normal year, if the forecast were calling for a full reservoir, Marina staff would begin moving the docks into place around this time. Although the forecasted water levels should be high enough to bring the docks in, as the summer gets warmer and drier, there is not enough certainty that water levels will remain high enough very long. The Frisco Bay Marina staff have seen reservoir levels drop as fast as a foot a day in the past. Marina management also considers the expertise of current staff and their years of experience at the Frisco Bay Marina with changing water levels. Under the current circumstances, putting docks in place with the high probability of water levels dropping quickly puts Marina and customer assets, such as docks and boats at risk of damage.
What about the “Big Dig”?
Completed in the summer of 2019, the “Big Dig” project lowered the grade in the bay by up to 13 feet in some areas, with excavation to a depth of 16 feet in south bay, and excavation of a channel to 9 feet in depth to northern paddle rack area. In preparation, staff worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers to analyze Denver Water’s daily elevation data of Dillon Reservoir from 1965 to 2014. This data showed that cyclically the Dillon Reservoir experiences drought-like water levels approximately every 10 years. Upon looking at operating water levels required to maintain docks attached to shore, and the water levels each year from 1965 to 2014, staff found that excavating to a depth of 16’, resulted in the most gain (24 days) to the operating season for the cost. The cost of excavating beyond 16’ from the basin did not monetarily equate to more days in the season on average. Only excavating to an extreme depth of 30-40’ would have helped the operation in a drought of this level, which is not feasible nor cost effective. Thanks to the “Big Dig” – the boat ramp is open, the rental operation is open, and T-dock is in place for temporary usage this season.
The boat launch ramp is now open between 8:00am to 7:00pm, with the last launch at 6:00pm through mid-September. The daily elevation level is posted on the Denver Water website. That elevation level minus 9001’ elevation, which is the lowest point in the bay at end of ramp, is the current water depth at the ramp. All Vessels that launch with a motor (including a dinghy), or has a sail, or launches off a trailer must go through the ANS (Aquatic Nuisance Species) inspection upon entrance and exit to the ramp. Please note that the current depth at the ramp is just over 4 feet so please take this in to consideration when launching. Water levels may rise slightly but do not anticipate much greater depth at the ramp.
The Marina offers an on-call courtesy shuttle available to transport boat storage customers who do not have a dinghy between the main Marina dock, and their mooring ball and/or Dock Island. The shuttle runs from 8:00am – 7:00pm, Sunday through Thursday, and 8:00am to 8:00pm Friday and Saturday. Last call for a shuttle ride will be 15 minutes before closing time. Please call 970-333-8891. A courtesy dock is available on a first-come, first-served basis for boaters who missed the last shuttle.
New Office and Retail Building Construction Update
The foundation for the new building has been poured, and construction is currently on track. Progress can be tracked in real time by checking out the web cam at the bottom of Frisco Bay Marina page.