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Opportunity to Participate in Upper Gunnison Watershed Management Plan (CO)

Posted: 07/08/2020
By: Kestrel Kunz

The Upper Gunnison Water Conservancy District in Gunnison, Colorado is coordinating a Watershed Management Planning effort "to help protect existing water uses and watershed health in the Upper Gunnison Basin in the face of pressure from increased water demands and permanent reductions in water supply." The current phase is focusing on Tomichi, Cochetopa, Cebolla, Taylor, and the Gunnison River above Blue Mesa. With local stewardship staff in Crested Butte, American Whitewater has joined the Watershed Management Planning Team to help represent recreational river users and quantify flow preferences and recreational opportunities on the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers. Using results from a Flow Preference Survey we completed in 2013 for 17 different river segments in the Gunnison Basin, we are working to refine results for the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers and implement our Boatable Days Tool to quantify how often (the number of days) preferred flows are met in varying hydrological year types. This Tool will allow the Watershed Management Planning Team to assess impacts from climate change and reservoir operations on paddling opportunities. American Whitewater is very excited to be involved in this stakeholder driven process and we are asking paddlers to share their input on management priorities for the Upper Gunnison Basin.

If you have experience paddling Cebolla, Taylor, or the Upper Gunnison Rivers, please fill out this quick survey! The survey gathers important information on access and infrastructure concerns, river hazards, and future management priorities for the Upper Gunnison Basin. This is a community driven process and we need your input to shape the future of river management in our valley.

American Whitewater and Trout Unlimited are planning to a host a virtual event in August to discuss preliminary survey results, flow preferences from American Whitewater's study, and to gather additional information from the river recreation community. Stay tuned for details!

Kestrel Kunz

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