CWCB delays until January 2011 the instream appropriation on San Miguel River to allow time to study more storage off the mainstem

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From The Telluride Watch (Karen James):

The decision represents and effort to find a middle ground between groups seeking an immediate appropriation of the water right and others who are opposed to it. “The board agreed to table it for a year, but expressed concern about progress being made” on plans for storage, said Linda Bassi, Chief of the CWCB’s Stream and Lake Protection Section. As a result, the CWCB will expect a progress report on the storage plan effort when it meets in Durango in May, she said. “They sent a strong message that they are very supportive of this instream flow, but they are willing to hold off to allow these different communities to determine their needs and come together, “ said April Montgomery, who represents the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan Rivers on the CWCB…

The instream flow being considered for the lower San Miguel River would designate minimum flows in a 16.5-mile stretch of the river in Montrose County that reaches from Calamity Draw west of Naturita to the Dolores River confluence. It has been recommended by both the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, primarily to prevent three dwindling species of native fish: flannelmouth sucker, bluehead sucker and roundtail chub, from being listed for federal protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. “The board members did acknowledge the need to protect an instream flow to prevent a federal listing of any of the sensitive species,” said Bassi…

The CWCB vote honored recommendations made to it by the San Miguel and Montrose County Commissioners and the Southwest Water Conservation District Board. “The two counties and the Southwest Water Conservation District Board asked the [CWCB] to do that so they could work together on assessing water user needs,” Bassi explained.

More San Miguel watershed coverage here and here.

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