HB 10-1188 (Clarify River Outfitter Navigation Right): What are the impacts to riparian areas and fish populations?

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From Steamboat Today (Michael J. Mitchell):

The sustainability of one of Colorado’s most sensitive natural resources, our waterways, is being pitted against the demand for recreation and commerce. Floating, while it may seem to be non-consumptive, has impacts on the habitats where it occurs. There is bank damage at put in/take outs, toilets next to rivers, bank side parking lots, trails along rivers, overfishing and trash to name just a few. These impacts add up, resulting in real biological consequences. The impact is not limited to fish; fish-eating bald eagles, water dependent river otters, migratory waterfowl and other riparian dependent species will also be affected if constant boat traffic is present.

The unregulated floating of Colorado rivers is proposed for one of the most precious wildlife habitats in our state; the thin vegetated line along waterways known as riparian habitat. Our riparian habitat represents just 3 percent of the land area but it is essential to sustain 75 percent of our wildlife species. If we were to consider such a major change within one of our National Forests or other federal lands we would be required by law to evaluate the environmental consequences through professional assessments and impact statements. Why would we want less for Colorado’s rivers?

More HB 10-1188 coverage here.

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