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Huge Win for Urban Rivers and Environmental Justice in Colorado

Posted: 10/13/2022
By: Kestrel Kunz

On September 12, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission reversed its previous decision and voted unanimously to increase protections for portions of Clear Creek and the South Platte River near Denver, Colorado. The decision was in response to a petition brought forward by a number of our conservation partners and was supported by public comment from American Whitewater staff and our members. 

The river segments were upgraded from Use Protected to Reviewable, meaning that polluters must prove that the economical and social benefits of development are greater than the negative impacts of the water pollution. The new water quality protections acknowledge the river clean up efforts that have occured over the last 10 years and reaffirms that everyone should have access to clean rivers. The South Platte flows through Commerce City and the North Denver area, which are home to marginalized communities that historically have not had access to clean water in their backyard. Now, these communities and the larger Denver area are guaranteed access to clean rivers. 

Before the unanimous vote, Commissioners cited the compelling public comments made from the recreation community who use these rivers to paddle, fish, and commute on riverside trails. We want to thank our members that spoke up alongside our stewardship staff at the hearing and we applaud the efforts of the conservation coalition that has worked tirelessly for over two years to protect these rivers.

You can read more about the decision here:

Kestrel Kunz

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