Colorado River District Funds Seven West Slope Water Projects

From the Gunnison to the Yampa, the River District’s Partnership Project Funding Program is empowering communities with multi-benefit water projects

At its April 20 meeting, the Colorado River District Board of Directors approved $204,134 in funding to repair a reservoir in Gunnison County and kick start a study to better understand how to cope with hotter, drier years in the Yampa River Basin. The District also recently approved $195,441 in funding for five additional projects that will improve agricultural water infrastructure, water quality for communities and habitat for fish and wildlife across the West Slope.

“These multi-benefit projects support and protect our water users – farmers and ranchers who need reliable irrigation water, communities whose drinking water supplies have been impacted by wildfire and those who enjoy casting a line in our streams,” said the Colorado River District’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Amy Moyer. “We’re excited to see these projects and the Partnership Project Funding Program take shape to benefit West Slope communities.”

The Yampa River Flow Pilot Project will fund releases from Elkhead Reservoir this summer and collect data on those releases to understand their impact. The project received $50,000 in funding from the Colorado River District. Given this summer’s anticipated hot, dry conditions, the Yampa River is likely to experience another season of low flows and an increasing possibility for another call on the river. The project marks a collaborative effort to protect historic agricultural water users in the Yampa River Basin from the impacts of decreasing river flows amid warming average annual temperatures, while enhancing river flows for the endangered fish and recreational water users. Partners in the project include the Colorado River District, Colorado Water Trust, Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District and Tri-State Generation and Transmission.

The Fish Creek Reservoir #2 Repair and Conservation Project will repair the dam and outlet works at Fish Creek Reservoir #2 located in Gunnison County with downstream benefits expected in Montrose County. The project received $154,134 in funding from the Colorado River District. With the repairs, the dam will again be able to store water for late-season agricultural irrigation. In its current condition, the reservoir cannot be filled due to dam safety restrictions. The reservoir owner, Cimarron Canal and Reservoir Company, and its partners will also restore what was once a productive trout fishery at the reservoir, enhancing recreational opportunities in the Gunnison Basin. Other partners in this project include the Bostwick Park Water Conservancy District and Trout Unlimited.

The River District also granted staff approval to fund five other projects:

  • Grizzly Creek Post Fire Water Quality Monitoring Project Phase 1 in Garfield County,
  • 2021 Upper Gunnison River Restoration and Irrigation Improvement in Gunnison County,
  • Grand Valley Irrigation Company Lateral Ditch ML47 Headgate and Ditch Piping Improvement in Mesa County,
  • Kendall Dam Rehabilitation in Mesa County and
  • Blue River Integrated Water Management Plan Phase 2 in Summit County.

More information about these five projects is available by clicking here. More information about the Partnership Project Funding Program can be found by clicking here.

To review the Colorado River District’s Board Documents related to the program, click here. To view a recording of the meeting, visit the Colorado River District’s Youtube Channel.