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American Whitewater to Consult on Future Impacts to the San Miguel River

Posted: 08/10/2016
by Evan Stafford

Colorado - Montrose County has acquired conditional water rights to the San Miguel River in southwest Colorado and is currently engaged in a water storage feasibility study aimed at pulling more water from the river and building multiple new reservoirs on BLM land. The County received a $300,000 grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and hired a water rights development coordinator to help push these projects forward. The sections which will potentially be impacted by these proposals would include the Lower San Miguel and Uravan Canyon.
Earlier this year American Whitewater conducted a study to define the range of flows that support the full range of whitewater boating opportunities along the San Miguel River. This study set a baseline for recreational flows that currently exist and have historically existed. Using these flow ranges and historic hydrologic data, AW defined the number of boatable days (days throughout the year when flows are above minimum and below maximum acceptable levels) in four different year types: dry, dry average, wet average, and wet.
As a product of our dedicated work defining recreational flows and representing whitewater recreation interests for the Colorado Water Plan, the CWCB requested that Montrose County consult with American Whitewater on recreational needs and future impacts. American Whitewater is currently working with Montrose County’s agents to assess the impact its conditional storage proposals will have on existing recreational opportunities. Stay tuned for our findings.
Colorado Stewardship Director
Nathan Fey
1601 Longs Peak Ave.
Longmont, CO 80501
Phone: 303-859-8601