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Colorado Water Quality Control Commission Votes to Protect 15 Streams

Posted: 06/12/2024
By: Hattie Johnson

On June 12, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission voted unanimously to approve a proposal to designate 385 miles of rivers and creeks as Outstanding Waters, ensuring these pristine waters will be preserved in that condition well into the future. The designations will be finalized at the Commission's upcoming August meeting. The Colorado River Basin Outstanding Water Coalition included American Whitewater, alongside several other groups representing anglers and environmental advocates. The coalition collected years of water quality data, vast and impressive support from stakeholders, and evidence of threats to these headwaters streams.

Dozens of paddlers added their voice in support of this effort, thank you! A huge shout out also goes to the watershed groups that lead the charge on water sampling and outreach to their communities - Friends of the Yampa, Eagle River Coalition, Roaring Fork Conservancy, and Colorado Trout Unlimited. And we are grateful for the expertise of American Rivers, Western Resource Advocates, Pew Chartitsble Trusts, Mountain Studies Institute, and Wiikderness Workshop who continue to manage this effort to ensure success.   

Utilizing authority under the Clean Water Act, Outstanding Waters provide the highest level of water quality protections in Colorado. The designation acknowledges the high water quality that currently exists and ensures it is protected at that level for the future. These rivers and creeks will be protected from future development, mining, and other uses that would degrade their water quality below its current high level. 

Check out  this map to see the 15 streams with exceptionally clean water in the Upper and Lower Colorado, Eagle, Yampa, and Roaring Fork watersheds that just received new Outstanding Waters protections.

Image credit: Elk River, Megan R

American Whitewater

Hattie Johnson

Phone: 970-456-8533
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