The Crystal River makes the top ten most endangered rivers list, Wild and Scenic designation in the future?

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From The Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

Rivers in Colorado remained off the list in 2011, but appeared again this year with the Crystal River showing up as the No. 8 most endangered river in the United States. It flows out of the mountains, through Redstone and into Carbondale where it meets with the Roaring Fork River.

The threat: dams and diversions. The same reasons the Upper Colorado was listed in 2010.

At stake in both scenarios are fish and wildlife habitat, beautiful vistas and visitor recreation. On top of that, the Crystal River is one of the few remaining free-flowing streams in Colorado. “But new hydropower dams, reservoirs and water diversions threaten to destroy the river’s unique values,” the report states.

The Colorado River District and West Divide Conservancy District hold conditional water rights that could be used to build the 4,000-acre-foot Placita Reservoir; a similar-size reservoir on Yank Creek, a tributary of the Crystal River; and a water diversion on Avalanche Creek, the largest tributary of the river. The Placita Reservoir would be about four miles upstream from Redstone.

The designation is just the beginning of action, American Rivers’ Colorado conservation director Matt Rice said. “We hope this will begin a renewed effort to protect the Crystal River with a ‘Wild and Scenic’ designation,” he said. That designation would bring federal protection and prevent dam building.

More Crystal River coverage here and here.

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