2015 Waneka Lake Outlet Valve Replacement Project

Watch the Waneka Lake Wildlife Presentation
by Colorado Parks and Wildlife given to City Council on
September 15, 2015.
CPW presentation

(Updated 3/7/16)
The outlet valve installation is complete. We are in the process of pumping water into the lake to test the new outlet valve with “no call” water shares. We anticipate another week of uninterrupted flow before farmers downstream begin exercising their senior water rights. This should allow for a sufficient testing period for the new valve.

(Updated 3/1/16)
Contractors are mobilizing and beginning work to replace the outlet valve this week. Work is expected to wrap up by the end of the week.

(Updated 1/30/16)
On January 30 an Eagle Scout project continued the City’s efforts to improve wildlife habitat at Waneka Lake. Lafayette Boy Scout Troop 271 built 12 fish reef areas utilizing 120 cinder blocks, ¾ mile of pipe, and 1.5 cubic yards of concrete. These artificial reefs will be placed around the drained lake bed to enhance fish habitats. View photos of the project on the City's Facebook Page.

(Updated 11/7/15)
Upwards of sixty volunteers assisted the Lafayette Parks, Open Space and Golf Department today to build 15 fish spawning boxes and 6 floating bird and turtle perches. Thanks to all who helped with this great project. View photos on the City's Facebook Page.

(Updated 9/18/15)
There is water flowing into the lake from an exposed, shoreline pipe near the boathouse. This recirculated water is a result of balancing pressure in the pumps pumping water out of the lake. It is not "new" water coming into the lake. Lake visitors are not allowed to play in this water or wade into the lake.

(Updated 9/16/15)
View the Colorado Division of Wildlife presentation at the September 15 City Council Meeting;
View the CDW Presentation

(Updated 9/10/15)
As previously stated, we are working with the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDW) who is the expert in managing and regulating area wildlife. CDW practices what is called “adaptive management” which means they will be continually monitoring conditions at Waneka and respond to issues as they arise. CDW's advice is that the wildlife will adapt to the slowly changing environment. The close proximity of the Greenlee Wildlife Preserve offers great alternatives for much of the wildlife. If CDW determines intervention is needed, they will take appropriate steps. The slow drainage of the lake will allow animals to adapt to changes as they occur. While it's likely there will be some sort of residual water at the lake, right now it's unclear exactly what that will look like. Turtles, who are very adaptive, will hopefully get down into mud and into hibernation before the water gets too low and will stay relatively wet. Some turtles are likely to move on, but if any are exposed where CDW is able to get to them, they will be relocated.

We have received generous offers for volunteers to help. We will take residents up on those offers when/if help is appropriate. One way to receive volunteer notices is to visit Notify Me and register to receive "Volunteer" News Flash updates. This drainage process will happen over 3-4 months, so updates will continue to be posted as new information is received.

(Updated 9/8/15)
An outlet valve at Waneka Lake, designed to control the release of water from the reservoir, is scheduled to be replaced by the end of the year. This replacement is normal and necessary preventive maintenance. It is a proactive measure to maximize dam and public safety, and does not pose an imminent threat to surrounding homes.

Beginning in September, Waneka Lake will be slowly drained over three to four months to expose this valve and allow for equipment replacement. The rate of water displacement will depend on demand and residential usage. Water will be diverted for use at the Indian Peaks Golf Course and treated for use in the City’s residential distribution system. Residents may notice a change in drinking water taste or odor during this time period, but the Lafayette water supply will continue to conform to all applicable Safe Drinking Water Act standards and water safety will not be compromised.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), the state agency that oversees fish management in Colorado, is working with the City to minimize impacts on the fish in Waneka Lake as it is drawn down. As a first step, CPW has approved a public fish salvage beginning September 9, 2015 which suspends bag and possession limits, allowing anglers to enjoy unlimited catches from the lake. This permission will be in place only during draining efforts and stipulates the following regulations;
  • A valid Colorado fishing license is required in accordance with state statutes. Licenses may be purchased online at Colorado Wildlife License.
  • Only legal fishing methods are allowed. The use of dip nets and seines is prohibited in Waneka Lake as well as all other locations in Boulder County.
As the lake drains, CPW will determine if removal and relocation of fish to other area lakes is feasible based on the ability to mobilize boats and equipment onto the lake.

Waneka Lake will be refilled upon completion of this repair. Depending on spring run-off and water rights, water levels are anticipated to be replenished sometime during the Spring of 2016. Once the lake is refilled, CPW will begin the process of restocking fish species appropriate to Waneka Lake according to the management plan for this lake.