Left Hand and Creek restoration update

Left hand creek restoration. Photo credit: Colorado Ag Water Alliance

From AgInfo.net (Maura Bennett):

Click here for an audio report.

A new project by the Colorado Ag Water Alliance highlights how various water users in the state came together to restore Left Hand Creek in Boulder County after the devastating 2013 flood.

The Alliance’s project involves a series of stories like the Left Hand Creek’s restoration. The Boulder County restoration is first to go up in a video and shows how working together made the creek better for all users. And Colorado Ag Water Alliance’s Executive Director Greg Peterson says that includes improvements for irrigators.

One of the people behind the years-long restoration is Jesse Olson, Executive Director of the Left Hand Watershed Center.

Olsen: “This project wasn’t just a great win for the environment it was a great win for the landowners and the ag producers as well. Examples of that include protection of the diversion structure, also improving the water delivery efficiency and reducing the amount of sediment flowing downstream and clogging the diversion structures. It also provided cattle access for the cattle to safely get to the water source which was the creek. It also stabilized the land and allowed for more land to be used for grazing by stabilizing the banks. There were also environmental benefits for fish and bugs and improved water quality with the reconstruction of flood plains and improving the wetland vegetation along the creek.”

The CAWA’s Peterson says collaborations with multiple groups often is slow and sometimes just don’t happen. The Left Hand Creek example shows how farmers, ranchers, ditch companies, conservancy districts, environmental groups and private citizens all played a vital role. To see the video, go to http://www.coagwater.org.

Here’s a case brief for Coffin v. Left Hand Ditch, Co. for you water law enthusiasts. The case was pivotal in establishing prior appropriation.

Left Hand Creek NW of Boulder, Colorado. By Kayakcraig – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48080249

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