Colorado River District funds five West Slope water projects

Board to consider two additional project proposals during April meeting 

The Colorado River District committed $195,441 in funding to water projects across the West Slope in its latest round of funding for partnership projects.  

The Colorado River District’s Board of Directors will consider two more funding requests totaling an additional $204,134at its upcoming Quarterly Board Meeting 

The board will meet over the course of two days, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 20 and from 8 to 10:25 a.m. Wednesday, April 21. The meeting will be held virtually using Zoom. The public is welcome to attend. Registration is required and can be completed by clicking here.  Please note that the Board is expected to enter executive session soon after the meeting starts, from 8:35 to 11 a.m., on Tuesday. An agenda and meeting documents are available by clicking here. 

The board will consider an application to improve Fish Creek Reservoir #2 in the Gunnison River Basin and an application to fund 2021 releases from Elkhead Reservoir and additional data collection in the Yampa River Basin. The projects are expected to go before the board around 2:25 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20. For more information about these projects, read the board memo by clicking here. For more information about the program, visit www.coloradoriverdistrict.org/partnership-project-funding-program. 

Below is a summary of funded projects as well as expected additional highlights of the upcoming board meeting.  

Funded projects: 

Grizzly Creek Post Fire Water Quality Monitoring Project Phase 1 
Garfield County 
$50,000 in funds awarded  
Project proponent: Middle Colorado Watershed Council 
This project will establish a new network of water quality monitoring equipmenand data collection above the Roaring Fork Confluence on the Colorado River. This monitoring is urgently needed to understand conditions in the Colorado River and its tributaries as the watershed is expected to see increased sediment, debris flows and possible flood events in the upcoming runoff season. This monitoring effort will set the stage for long-term analysis of the effects of fire’s water quality impacts for downstream communities and agricultural producers.  

2021 Upper Gunnison River Restoration and Irrigation Improvement  
Gunnison County  
$47,241 in funds awarded  
Project proponent: Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District 
This project will combine two irrigation diversions on the Gunnison River into a single point of diversion and restore a segment of the Upper Gunnison River. The improved infrastructure will allow water rights holders to divert water during both low and high flows. Additionally, a return structure will be constructed to return unused water to the Gunnison River and allow young kokanee salmon to return to the river.  

 Grand Valley Irrigation Company Lateral Ditch ML47 Headgate and Ditch Piping Improvement 
Mesa County  
$38,200 in funds awarded  
Project proponent: Lateral Ditch ML47, Inc.  
This project will improve a headgate and ditch that diverts from the Grand Valley Irrigation Canal, repairing cracks in the ditch’s concrete lining and installing a pressurized system of pipes. These improvements will support the availability of water for agricultural and residential users and increase efficiency in the system by reducing water loss. The project is also expected to reduce the amount of salt flowing from the ditch into the Colorado River, which occurs when the ditch floods. 

Kendall Dam Rehabilitation  
Mesa County  
$35,000 in funds awarded  
Project proponent: Kendall Reservoir Company  
This project funds the rehabilitation of the dam at Kendall Reservoir, also known as Kenney Creek Reservoir, which is jointly owned by the reservoir company and the U.S. Forest Service. The rehabilitation will improve the condition, safety and useful lifespan of the dam. This funding will support the first phase of improvements, including earthwork, brush cleanup and dam build-up. Ultimately, the rehabilitation will benefit agricultural users with a reliable water supply and provide outdoor recreation and angling opportunities on the reservoir.  

Blue River Integrated Water Management Plan Phase 2 
Summit County  
$25,000 in funds awarded  
Project proponents: Blue River Watershed Group and Trout Unlimited 
In 2019, Trout Unlimited and the Blue River Watershed Group joined to develop a basin-wide integrated water management plan for the Blue River Basin to enable consumptive and non-consumptive water users to understand and quantify current and future usePhase 2 of this management plan builds on progress made during Phase 1 by targeting several areas in need of more data and detailed analyses.   

Highlights from the upcoming meeting:  

In addition to the funding requests, the Board of Directors will receive updates or take action on the items below: 

  • River District staff will provide an update on Drought Contingency Planning and Demand Management. 
  • The board will receive Colorado River Basin hydrology forecasts.  
  • Staff will present an update on East Troublesome Fire Recovery. 
  • Tom Chart, Director of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program will provide an update on the program. Federal funding authorization for the program is currently slated to sunset in 2023.  
  • T. Wright Dickenson will present on Green River/Flaming Gorge Operations.  
  • The board will hear an update on the White River Storage project from Director Alden Vanden Brink 
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