Trout Unlimited and Western Resource Advocates recently won a court victory overthrowing an agreement between the US Department of Interior and the state of Colorado. The agreement would have allowed all flows over 300 cfs removed from the river for various out of channel uses. The judge found the agreement to be arbitrary, capricious, nonsensical, an abuse of discretion, and illegal.
TU effectively argued that rivers need a complex and variable flow regime in order to function naturally, and thus won a big victory for the Gunnison River - and the paddlers who enjoy floating various reaches of the canyon. They successfully made this case based on scientific data showing the ecological value of occassional flows over 10,000cfs.
Colorado will have many such water battles in the future and at least in this once case, the river has won.
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