A vast plumbing system on the West Slope diverts up to 60 percent of the Colorado River's native flows to the Front Range.
Colorado Wildlife Commission hears input on mitigation and enhancement plans for proposed new Upper Colorado River diversions; residents call for public accountability, more money for long-term monitoring and action instead of meetings
* Take a video tour of the Grand County diversions
* A story with more details and numerous photos of impacts
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Grand County residents and other Colorado River advocates want more assurances that two proposed new transmountain diversion projects won’t wipe out trout populations in headwaters streams like the Fraser River.
“The bottom line is, I have a gold medal fishery with a lot of 24-inch fish. It’s a very viable fishery, but without the flushing flows, the river is going to die,” said Grand County ranch owner Ron Jones, speaking during a May 6 hearing of the Colorado Wildlife Commission in Salida.
A trickle of reddish water is all that's left of Jim Creek in Grand County, Colorado below on of Denver Water's diversion points.
“We all posture … they’re posturing it’s not a problem but it is,” Jones said, referring to the long-running negotiations over how to address existing impacts to fisheries in the Upper Colorado, and how to make sure that the Windy Gap firming project and the Moffat Tunnel collection system expansion won’t totally collapse the aquatic ecosystems in the Upper Colorado and Fraser River.
“If they want to take the water, then they should put the money into doing what it takes to protect the rivers. The wildlife commission has the responsibility to protect wildlife,” Jones said, asking the state agency to live up to its obligations.”It shouldn’t be about power, it shouldn’t be about money. It’s about doing the right thing. We need to hold denver water accountable in perpetuity. The standard should be, the river shouldn’t be degraded any more,” he concluded. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado Division of Wildlife, Environment, federal government, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, water, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado River, Denver Water, Environment, Fraser River, Moffat Tunnel collection system expansion, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Summit County News, Trout Unlimited, water, Windy Gap firming project | 1 Comment »