Gunnison Flow Study: Success, Next steps underway

Posted: 10/14/2013
By: Chris Menges

American Whitewater is pleased to release this report on the results of our summer 2013 Gunnison River Flow Survey.

Over 331 paddlers responded to the Survey, allowing us to define the full range of whitewater flow needs on 17 of the Gunnison River Basin’s most commonly paddled sections of river like Oh-Be-Joyful creek, the Gunnison Gorge and the Taylor River. Respondent data was organized to identify minimum, acceptable and optimal flows for whitewater boating, as well as flows that provide niche whitewater experiences from technical low water to challenging high water trips.

AW is currently working with water managers to leverage this data into long-term flow protections at the regional, state and federal levels. Recently, AW staff presented the results and recommendations from our flow study to the Gunnison Basin Roundtable. We asked the Roundtable to integrate the flow study results into their Nonconsumptive Needs Assessment, develop a quantitative metric to analyze opportunities to protect recreational flows in the forthcoming Basin Implementation and Colorado Water plans, and set a goal of balancing the protection of recreational flows with other priorities like agriculture and municipal supply. The presentation was well received and we are happy to report that this group of dedicated water managers has expressed a willingness to collaborate with us in advancing these recommendations.

You can view a full copy of the report here: Stream-flow Evaluations for Whitewater Boating – Gunnison River Basin. It contains results and recommendations as well as methodology and additional information on respondent statistics.

We would like to express our gratitude to all of the dedicated paddlers that took time to provide feedback on the Survey! We are pleased to report high levels of confidence that this data will enable the management community to better evaluate opportunities to protect recreational flows in the Gunnison Basin now and into the future.

Associated Projects

Colorado River Basin Supply Study

American Whitewater's staff and contractors are working to develop quantitative metrics that help the US Bureau of Reclamation evaluate impacts to recreational stream-flows across the Colorado basin.

Gunnison Basin (Colorado) Stewardship Program

Our new Gunnison River Basin program will define and protect recreational flow needs as part of regional and broader Upper Colorado River Basin stewardship strategies. By quantifying flow needs in the

Associated Rivers

Escalante Creek CO
Gunnison, North Fork CO
Gunnison CO
Gunnison CO
Gunnison CO
Gunnison CO
Lake Fork Gunnison CO
Oh Be Joyful Creek CO
Taylor River CO
Uncompahgre River CO
Uncompahgre River CO


Gunnison River Flow Study 2013: Report and Recommendations (10/11/2013)

This report describes flows that provide whitewater boating opportunities for various craft-types on targeted river segments in the Gunnison River Basin in western Colorado.

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