Colorado River District
From piping irrigation canals to monitoring water quality after wildfire, the Colorado River District’s Partnership Project Funding Program is helping update water infrastructure, keeping clean water flowing to our communities and protecting river health.
Since March, the Colorado River District has awarded a total of $399,575 to seven projects across the Western 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,” Colorado River District Director of Strategic Partnerships Amy Moyer said. “We’re excited to see these projects and the Partnership Project Funding Program take shape to benefit West Slope communities.”
In Garfield County, a $50,000 grant will establish a new network of water quality monitoring equipment and 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 due to the 2020 Grizzly Creek fire. The monitoring effort will set the stage for long-term analysis of the effects of the fire’s water quality impacts for downstream communities and agricultural producers.
A Gunnison County project will repair the dam and outlet works at Fish Creek Reservoir #2, with downstream benefits expected in Montrose County. With the repairs, the dam will again be able to store water for late-season agricultural irrigation. Other partners include the Bostwick Park Water Conservancy District and Trout Unlimited.
In Moffat and Routt counties, 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 represents 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.
Another Gunnison County 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.
In Mesa County, a 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.
The Kendall Dam rehabilitation project in Mesa County will improve the condition, safety and useful lifespan of the dam.
The Blue River Integrated Water Management Plan Phase 2 in Summit County is 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 use. Phase 2 of this management plan builds on progress made during Phase 1 by targeting several areas in need of more data and detailed analyses.
To review the Colorado River District’s Board Documents related to the program, go to http://www.coloradoriverdistrict.org/quarterly-board-meetings.