National Register of Historic Places listing for irrigation ditches?

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The San Luis People’s Ditch, the City Ditch in Denver and parts of the Grand Ditch are already listed on the National Register, but there has been no active effort to list a ditch since the 1980s, [Heather Bailey, historian for the Colorado Historical Society] said.

The newest effort started with research on behalf of some ditch owners by Micheal Holleran, then a Colorado University-Denver instructor, 10 years ago. His 2005 application details the development of Colorado ditches throughout history and makes the case for the need to preserve them. “We are in no rush to move forward,” Bailey said. “This is just a framework for anyone who wants to list a property.” She explained the proposed action, called a multiple documentation form, would not list specific ditches. Such forms already exist for mines and railroads or even things like gas stations and drive-in movie theaters, added Astrid Liverman, coordinator for National Register listings in Colorado. While being listed on the National Register is largely a point of pride, it can have financial or tax benefits if reconstruction is contemplated, Bailey said.

Water users [at the Colorado Water Congress 2011 Annual Convention] focused on what could go wrong with the process, however, saying it could lead to increased state or federal scrutiny of nearly any water development or repair project.

The state officials tried to assure water users that no property would be put on the list unless the owner requested. That raised a tangle of complexity, since most ditches are mutually owned, may have structures located on private or public property and cross multiple properties. Water users asked how the state would contact every possible party involved and whether emergency repairs would be subject to a longer permitting process.

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