A look at the challenges facing the users and managers of the Upper Colorado River

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From the Summit Daily News (Janice Kurbjun):

When proposed projects to firm the Front Range water supply move forward — pumping just a small portion of what’s already removed — the Upper Colorado will be at less than 20 percent of its original flow, said Nathan Fey, American Whitewater’s Colorado stewardship director. And that prospect poses significant threats to the river’s wildlife and ecological health as well as the tourism industry in Summit County, Grand County and beyond, he said. The Colorado River is a mecca for fishermen, with prized trout fisheries. Whitewater boaters take to the rapids at all times of the year. Hikers enjoy the scenic panoramas and riverside hot pools. Wildlife is abundant in the headwaters area and as the river meanders down the Western Slope…

Such values have qualified the river, from near its source to its confluence with the Roaring Fork in Glenwood Springs, as a candidate for federal Wild and Scenic River designation, American Rivers’ report states. To continue to enjoy recreational activities and discourage environmental and ecological breakdown of the river, it’s all about flow, American Rivers’ Colorado conservation director Matt Rice said. The Upper Colorado River is going to be a focal point for the organization, which opens a Denver office in the near future. Between hydropower reform and partnering to develop Wild and Scenic River designations, the group has a lot on its plate.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

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