Final Decision released for Green River Diversion Project

Posted: 05/02/2015
By: Nathan Fey

Green River, Utah - The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released its Final Decision for the proposed rehabilitation of the Green River/Tusher Diversion in Green River, Utah.

The final agency decision for rebuilding the Green River Diversion, includes boat passage and upstream signage warning boaters of the Diversion. Boat passage and public safety are design elements that American Whitewater has worked to include, and we are pleased that the NRCS and the State of Utah has incorporated these elements into the project's final plan.

What this means for paddlers, is:

1) the dam will be re-built so as to eliminate the "keeper hydraulic" formed immediately downstream of the dam. This will improve downstream boat passage at high flows.

2) the new structure will include a boat chute in the center of the dam, that will allow for downstream boat passage at low flows.

3) signs upstream, will inform paddlers of the dam and the boat chute option.

Additionally, the Project allocates 147cfs to keep enough water in the boat chute to float a large raft at low flows.  Think of that as 147 basketballs flowing through the center of the dam during low-flow conditions.

Public comments on the Proposed Project were strongly supportive of including boat passage.  From energy companies, to the Governor's office, to paddlers from across the region, nearly every one of the 83 comments submitted on the project advocated for boat passage and public safety. Thank you for sending your comments - we did it!

"I want to thank the cooperators in the Tusher Diversion Rehabilitation [including Nate Fey (American Whitewater), Brodie Young (UT Department of Natural Resources, The Mackay’s (Colorado Rivers & Trails) and many, many more for their vision and work that assured an appropriate boat passage in the project, said Herm Hoops.  “I know that at times it was not easy, and I am certain that the delays were frustrating to some.  But working together and including the boat passage you have provided a wonderful resource for the future” 

“Although on a “fast track” for replacement, the particulars involved worked to include the boat passage for the diversion - even though it meant a delay in doing the work.  Working together you developed and considered the effects of several alternatives, finally selecting the best one for all involved.  The Record of Decision has been made and now the users will have the diversion, a new section of river is safely open to river runners, and the city of Green River has the opportunity for a long-range plan for recreational river activities.  It is an exemplary project that shows the excellent results of a very diverse group of users including federal, state, local government agencies, river outfitters and private river runners, conservation organizations, business and agriculture and private citizens working together”

The Proposed Action includes a list of components that were favored by the public, cooperating, and participating agencies, including American Whitewater:

- Replace existing diversion structure, rather than restore the existing one.

- Move sediment through the system and maintain floodwater conveyance.

- Replace existing gate and bridge at west raceway and provide sufficient water for bypass flows at fish protection systems.

- Dredge the large deposition area at the mouth of Tusher Wash for a source of cobble and gravel during construction.

- Install deflection log booms at the east and west ends for public safety and structure protection.

- Provide upstream fish passage past diversion structure.

- Provide downstream fish passage via notches in the diversion structure.

- Provide passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag detectors to sense and record fish movement over and around the diversion.                                                       

- Install fish screen and bypass at the east side canal.
- Provide both dry and wet downstream boat passage past the diversion structure.                                                                                                                 â€¨

- Install boater warning signs upstream of the diversion for public safety.

River runners now have the opportunity to run safely from Flaming Gorge Dam or Rangely, Colorado to Hite on Lake Powell – a distance exceeding that of the Grand Canyon and providing the opportunity for what is known as “Powell Trips.”   In time Green River has the opportunity to develop this river resource to provide recreational and business opportunities for its residents.

Colorado Stewardship Director

Nathan Fey

1601 Longs Peak Ave.

Longmont, CO 80501

Phone: 303-859-8601
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