AVON — If you’ve been fishing at Nottingham Lake this year, you’ve wasted your time.
The fish at the man-made lake in the middle of Avon were taken out last year, ahead of a planned project that will drain and re-fill the 15-acre pond. The project was delayed a few months, so the town would have a full lake for the annual Salute to the USA celebration July 3 and a coming triathlon later in July. No fish were stocked in the pond this year, knowing the lake would be drained.
With the fish out of the pond, town officials are ready to pull the plug on the lake the minute the last triathlete comes out of the water July 21. Town engineer Justin Hildreth said it will take nearly a month for the lake to drain and after which work will begin.
The Avon Town Council June 25 awarded a contract for the $1.3 million project to Ewing Trucking and Construction of Edwards. Once the lake is drained, Ewing will scrape up the rocks at the bottom of the lake, then pull up and dispose of the old liner. The new liner will be laid on the lake bottom, then glue-welded together. The rocks will be replaced, and the lake will begin re-filling in the fall.
The re-fill was expected to start with the spring runoff, but Egger said council member Jennie Fancher had an idea that will put water back in the lake sooner.
That idea — which has initial approval from the Colorado River Water Conservation District — essentially trades water from Wolford Mountain Reservoir for water from the lake in Avon.
The water in Wolford Mountain is used, in part, to maintain streamflows and provide water to Colorado River water users through the summer. The water from Nottingham Lake will be used instead of the Wolford Mountain water this summer. Then, water from Wolford Mountain will be released in the fall, allowing the town to draw an equal amount from the Eagle River.
Water transactions in Colorado are often complicated and time-consuming, but Hildreth said this trade has been straightforward, at least so far.
While the lake will re-fill sooner than expected, it will still be closed to skating through the winter.
The lake also won’t be available for any emergency use this summer. Egger said no water from the lake is used by the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District for domestic use. Nor is any of the lake’s water used for irrigation. But the pond could be useful in case of wildfire for filling helicopter-carried water buckets. Egger said other area ponds are available for that use, if needed.
Besides the basics of replacing the liner, Egger said the new lake bottom will also include a few plastic structures that will shelter fish, which will make the lake a better fishing hole in the future. The lake project will also add an expanded beach, with some actual sand instead of fine gravel.
Council member Jake Wolf also recently suggested that part of the lake area be turned into a wetlands area. The rest of the council went along with the idea, so the town with the help of the Walking Mountains Science School, will create a marshy area near Avon Elementary School where kids can learn how wetlands contribute to water quality and the rest of the environment.
“The result will be a better lake for everyone,” Egger said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 or at smiller@vail daily.com.