Ruedi Reservoir is a reservoir on the West Slope of the Continental Divide on the Fryingpan River. It sits about 15 miles (24 km) upstream of the town of Basalt, Colorado, near Aspen. The reservoir is located within the White River National Forest, and straddles the county line between Pitkin County and Eagle County.
The reservoir and its Ruedi Dam 39°21′48″N 106°49′08″W were built from 1964 through 1968. They’re both owned and operated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. One purpose of the reservoir is to help compensate for diversions to Colorado’s East Slope, taken further up in the Fryingpan Basin as part of Reclamation’s federal Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. Another purpose of the reservoir is to provide water for West Slope interests. The dam is located in Pitkin County.
Ruedi stores approximately 102,000 acre feet (126,000,000 m3) of water. Water in the reservoir is released through Ruedi Dam down the Fryingpan primarily for municipal, industrial, and agricultural interests. A side benefit of the reservoir is recreation. Boating, fishing and camping are popular at the reservoir itself, while the downstream portion of the Fryingpan River has become well regarded as a Gold Medal fishery.
In the 1980s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the presence of four endangered fish in the Upper Colorado River Basin. After a lengthy public process, it was decided that Ruedi Reservoir would become one of the sources of water in the recovery efforts of the fish and their habitat.