Shape the Future of Flows in the Colorado River - Comments due January 17th!
The Bureau of Land Management’s Colorado River Valley Field Office (CRVFO) is currently seeking public comment on the future management of lands within the area. Their draft Resource Management Plan (dRMP) has far-reaching implications for the management of Off-Highway Vehicles, mineral and oil & gas development, grazing, timber, recreation, and much more on Colorado’s rivers and public lands. Your comments will help to shape the future of flows in the Colorado River, and are due January 17th, 2012. The draft RMP is a very large document, and American Whitewater has put together a guide to help you digest the proposed management actions that affect river-based recreation and river health, including flows on the iconic Upper Colorado River.
The Upper Colorado River is the largest supplemental source of water for the cities of Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, and eastern Colorado towns and farms. As these demands increase, so does the potential for conflict over how much water is left in the Colorado River system. Current and future water diversions are putting Colorado River flows at risk.
Wild and Scenic
One of the key issues in the management plan includes whether the Upper Colorado River will be found to be Suitable for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. No question that American Whitewater loves our Wild and Scenic Rivers, but unfortunately, a WSR designation can do very little to protect streamflows in the Upper Colorado River.
Since 2007, American Whitewater has been a key stakeholder involved in negotiations with a broad coalition of water suppliers, municipalities and environmental groups seeking to develop a collaborative plan that will allow for future water supplies and protect flows in the river. Together, we’ve developed a Stakeholder Group Management Plan that does just that, and we’re pleased to see that the BLM is considering implementing the Stakeholder Agreement as one of their preferred alternatives. It is the most protective of streamflows in the Colorado in the future, and as such, American Whitewater supports this Alternative (Alternative B2).
Other Issues in the dRMP
While Wild and Scenic is one of the most important aspects to provide comment on in the dRMP, there are many other issues that relate to recreation and riparian health in the management plan. These include specially designated areas for recreation (Special Recreation Management Areas [SRMA’s] and Extensive Recreation Management Areas [ERMA’s]) and environmental protection (Areas of Critical Environmental Concern [ACEC’s]). American Whitewater’s guide and summary also outlines these issues. See the Table of Contents at the beginning of both the Guide and the Summary to locate the specific information you’d like to comment on.
Want to Comment? Help is Available!
To get started, take a look at our Sample Comment Letter and then dive into our “CRVFO RMP Guide.” As much as possible, this Guide brings the key issues that affect recreation and riparian health into plain English and points you in the right direction within the dRMP if you want to dig in a little deeper. It also contains some links to relevant maps that will help you understand the area. If you’d like to sink your teeth in a little more without cracking the actual dRMP, take a look at “CRVFO RMP Summary.” This is a more extensive summary of the dRMP, with more of an “agency speak” tone.
The dRMP can be accessed on the BLM’s CRVFO website.
Acronym soup got you down? Check out the dRMP’s Table of Contents. Scroll down a bit within the document…it’s there!
Management decisions that impact the Colorado River are being considered in both the Colorado River Valley Field Office and the Kremmling Field Office. Comments are also due for the Kremmling Field Office on January 17th. Watch in the coming days for a summary and comment guide on the Kremmling Field Office’s RMP.
Submit your comments by January 17th, 2012
Bureau of Land Management
CO Colorado River Valley Field Office
2300 River Frontage Road
Silt, CO 81652
By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or using BLM’s online form.