Colorado River Basin: The impacted nature of the riparian environment at the headwaters should drive the environmental analysis of moving more water to the Front Range

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Guaranteed flows would be a great start. Flushing flows at times. Something similar to the settlement over flows through Black Canyon. Click here for a video of the Crystal Dam Spill last May (William Woody and The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel).

Here’s a report about current impacts from Scott Willoughby writing for The Denver Post. From the article:

…the network of pipes eventually grows to include tunnels with names like Harold D. Roberts, Gumlick, Vasquez and Moffat that stretch across the Divide to move acres of water out of the Blue, Williams Fork, Fraser and other mountain streams. Rather than joining the collective headwaters that unite to form fish and wildlife habitat in the Colorado River, that water winds up in sprinklers and car washes, beer bottles and bathroom spigots along the Front Range.

More of that water is targeted for removal as Colorado’s population continues to swell. Proposals on the table from Denver Water and Northern Water Conservancy District to divert additional water from the Fraser, Williams Fork, Blue and Upper Colorado rivers are designed to keep water supply ahead of demand in municipalities from Denver to Greeley.

Yet, even as the water entities lay out plans required to mitigate the impacts on fish and wildlife from their Moffat Collection System and Windy Gap Firming Project, it’s increasingly evident that these troubled waters can’t accommodate the demands already placed on them. Aquatic species ranging from green drake mayflies to mottled sculpin minnows already have disappeared, whatever the blame. The whole situation is a hot mess. We can’t manufacture water. And apparently we can’t manage it very well, either.

More Moffat Collection System Project coverage here and here.

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