The Bureau of Land Management’s Kremmling Field Office (KFO) is currently seeking public comment on the future management of lands within the area. Their draft Resource Management Plan (dRMP) has far-reaching implications for the management of Off-Highway Vehicles, mineral and oil & gas development, grazing, timber, recreation, and much more on Colorado’s rivers and public lands. Your comments will help to shape the future of flows in the Colorado River, and are due January 17th, 2012. The draft RMP is a very large document, and American Whitewater has put together a "dRMP Guide" to help you digest the proposed management actions that affect river-based recreation and river health, including flows on the iconic Upper Colorado River. These comments are being considered in addition to those submitted to the Colorado River Valley Field Office, also due Tuesday, January 17th. For more on getting started, see below!
The Upper Colorado River is the largest supplemental source of water for the cities of Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, and eastern Colorado towns and farms. As these demands increase, so does the potential for conflict over how much water is left in the Colorado River system. Current and future water diversions are putting Colorado River flows at risk.
One of the key issues in the management plan includes whether segments of the Upper Colorado River will be found to be Suitable for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. American Whitewater loves our Wild and Scenic Rivers, but unfortunately a WSR designation can do very little to protect streamflows in the Upper Colorado River.
Since 2007, American Whitewater has been a key stakeholder involved in negotiations with a broad coalition of water suppliers, municipalities and environmental groups seeking to develop a collaborative plan that will allow for future water supplies and protect flows in the river. Together, we’ve developed a Stakeholder Agreement Management Plan that does just that, and we’re pleased to see that the BLM is considering implementing the Stakeholder Agreement as one of their preferred alternatives. It is the most protective of streamflows in the Colorado in the future, and as such, American Whitewater supports this Alternative (Alternative B2).
Here’s a summary of what the dRMP outlines for recreation management on the Upper Colorado River.
- Level of remoteness: Aim for a more remote river corridor in Alternatives B and C; more developed physical setting in Alternative D
- Group size limitations: No group size limitations under Alternatives B and D. Limit commercial group sizes to 25 people, including guides. Private trips may be restricted as well depending on social setting numbers.
- Permit requirements: Require permits under Alternative B (and possibly C) for private users. No permit requirement under Alternative D.
- User fees: generally, may be implemented “as appropriate” under all alternatives. None specifically outlined for Upper Colorado River SRMA.
- Special Recreation Permits: No festivals allowed under Alternative B; no competitive events allowed under Alternative C; permits would be issued for large events under Alternative D.
- Visitor facilities: Some facilities (pit toilets, fire rings and picnic tables) would be removed under Alternative B (and possibly Alternative C); existing facilities would be maintained and new facilities would be built under Alternative D.
While Wild and Scenic is one of the most important aspects of providing comment on the dRMP, there are many other issues that relate to recreation and riparian health in the management plan. These include specially designated areas for recreation (Special Recreation Management Areas [SRMA’s] and Extensive Recreation Management Areas [ERMA’s]) and environmental protection (Areas of Critical Environmental Concern [ACEC’s]). American Whitewater’s guide and summary also outlines these issues, and we encourage you to consider supporting these other management actions that will protect water quality and riparian values throughout the KFO. See the Table of Contents at the beginning of the Guide to locate the specific information you’d like to comment on.
To get started, take a look at our sample comment letter and then dive into our “KFO dRMP Boater Guide.” As much as possible, this brings the key issues that affect recreation and riparian health into plain English and points you in the right direction within the dRMP if you want to dig in a little deeper. It also contains some links to relevant maps that will help you understand the area.
The dRMP can be accessed on the BLM’s KFO website.
Acronym soup got you down? Check out the dRMP’s Acronym Page.
Submit your comments by January 17th, 2012:
BLM Kremmling Field Office
P.O. Box 68
2103 E. Park Ave
Kremmling, CO 80459
By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org