US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District Website Website

Trinidad Dam

  • Due to the increased rainfall upstream of Trinidad Dam, May 8-11, 2017, there was a large inflow of water into Trinidad Reservoir.


  • We (USACE, Albuquerque District) increased releases from the dam at the request of and with the coordination of the state of Colorado, which makes the release decisions for the dam.


  • The state of Colorado (and thereby the Albuquerque District) are required by law (state of Colorado and Arkansas River Compact requirements) to pass excess flood water through the dam.


  • High-flow water releases were completed May 15, 2017.


  • Current releases are approximately 400 cubic feet per second (cfs).

    • The outflow releases match what’s coming into the reservoir.

    • For reference, the water in one cubic foot per second is roughly equivalent to the volume of a basketball, so we are releasing about 400 basketballs of water from Trinidad Dam each second.


  • While the recent releases were higher than what has been seen recently, Trinidad Dam has not been and is NOT in flood-reduction operations.

    • The reservoir is currently at 55 percent of its irrigation/conservation capacity, with 45 percent storage capacity before reaching any potential flood operations.


  • Higher flows can be beneficial to the general health of the river and its ecosystem.

    • Higher flows help flush river channels.


  • The higher releases are part of our normal dam operational procedures.

    • USACE will adjust releases as needed, depending on changes in conditions both up and downstream of Trinidad Dam.


  • We reached historically high releases from Trinidad Dam, May 10-15, 2017.

    • At the peak of this historic high release, the dam was safely releasing 2,000 cfs.

    • This is well below the rate at which we would begin to see impacts downstream. Impacts to downstream agricultural lands could occur if the release rate reached 3,000 cfs.

    • Our previous historically highest release was 1,016.9 cubic feet per second (cfs), on August 13, 2004.   


  • Entering marked restricted areas on USACE land at Trinidad Dam is not allowed.


  • For questions, contact Mark Slimp, 505-342-3349