Protect and Restore Streams, Rivers, Lakes and Riparian Areas
Biologically healthy rivers form the basis of a thriving Colorado Basin. Whether in support of tourism and recreation, agriculture, safe drinking water or meeting the River’s Compact requirements healthy rivers with adequate flows are critical. This is not only reflected in stream flows but also in how those stream flows are managed. One of the identified projects discussed in more detail below is the development of a Basinwide Stream Management Plan.
“Here is a land where life is written in water…” — Thomas Hornsby Ferril
It might have been more accurate to say, here is a land where life is written by its rivers. They are the source of the water that Ferril so eloquently wrote about. In Ferrils time rivers were valued only as that, a source of water to be diverted and removed for agriculture, industry and cities. Little thought was paid to the rivers themselves.
But times change and knowledge grows. The rivers of Colorado are still the well spring for most of our growing and valuable agricultural and domestic needs here in the Colorado River basin, but we now have a better understanding and appreciation of the intrinsic value and water needs of rivers. The rivers of Colorado really are the life blood of the land.
When Governor Hickenlooper called for the creation of the Colorado Water Plan he stated that the plan must reflect the State’s “water values”. The last, but not least of these is “a strong environment that includes healthy watersheds, rivers and streams, and wildlife.” Several of the projects that the Colorado Basin Roundtable has engaged or funded work toward supporting this value.
Recently the Colorado Basin Roundtable has supported projects in the Colorado River headwaters of Grand County that benefit both the river environment and the delivery of water for local ranches near Kremmling. This project addresses erosion issues, low flows and loss of habitat while providing the water surface elevation needed for pumps to work effectively in irrigating adjacent hay fields.