AW has been working to advise groups of stakeholders in each river basin who provide input to the state on water issues, in the development of a nonconsumptive needs assessment (NCNA). This involves identifying the area’s nonconsumptive water needs, such as paddling and fishing, as well as the projects and methods to meet those needs.
With assistance from American Whitewater, the basin roundtables completed Phase I, which included a comprehensive stakeholder-driven mapping effort of environmental and recreational focus areas throughout Colorado. Phase I also included a pilot of the Watershed Flow Evaluation Tool (WFET), which tests the applicability of a course quantification methodology. AW has engaged hundreds of volunteers in studies that identify the flow-needs for existing recreational use in the Colorado and Yampa River basins, and has worked with the CWCB to develop a quantitative metric that helps evaluate the impact to paddling from climate change, new water development projects, and changes in water rights.
Phase II of the NCNA process seeks to identify projects or methods to address the basins’ nonconsumptive needs identified in Phase I. During Phase II, the roundtables, with assistance from the CWCB, will explore the following topics:
- Existing protections/efforts for priority areas
- Areas without protections that need further study
- Strategies needed to support nonconsumptive priority areas
- Areas where new flow or water level quantification is appropriate
- Areas where a project, whether structural (e.g., river restoration) or nonstructural, can be identified and implemented
- Areas where no action is needed at this time
To address the first topic area, a technical memo was developed that outlines existing and planned nonconsumptive projects and methods. The identification of these projects and methods will inform each basin roundtable in how to proceed with the other topic areas. Some basins may focus first on nonconsumptive quantification, and others may put their efforts directly into identifying projects or methods for meeting their nonconsumptive needs.
Ultimately, the NCNA information will merge with the results of the Consumptive Needs Assessments and provide guidance to water resource managers on issues related to environmental and recreational uses of water. Recreation and tourism are vital to Colorado. Millions of people within the state participate in outdoor recreational activities that are connected to Colorado’s water resources. Water-related activities, such as fishing, paddling, commercial rafting, wildlife viewing, camping, skiing and other snow sports, together infuse between $7 and $8 billion into the state’s economy and employ about 85,000 people across Colorado. The state’s recreational opportunities and natural environment continue to draw in businesses and new residents to Colorado, further underscoring their importance to the state’s economy.
American Whitewater is working to define and defend the needs of river-based recreation across the region, as decisions on what the future of Colorado's Rivers will look like.
The contacts below include staff and volunteers working on this project. Make sure you are logged in if you wish to join the group.
|Nathan Fey||Longmont CO||Details...|