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Old 11-26-2007   #1
KVBA TV8 Vail weatherman/Colorado Kayaker, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 847
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American whitewater at work in Colorado. SWSI

Update: American Whitewater at work in Colorado
State Water Supply Initiative (SWSI)/ Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC)
Around Colorado, Basin Roundtable are collecting information on water use and water supply as mandated by the Colorado legislature. Agencies, water managers, and local interest groups and governments are examining ways of managing Colorado’s water supply to meet existing needs while freeing up more water for future use. Historically, water needs in Colorado have been administered as legal rights, and quantifiable. Less easy to quantify is how much water a healthy river needs to function properly, and to provide recreational opportunities. Without sufficient information in Colorado on flow amounts necessary to support desired recreational experiences on rivers, we are challenged to fully consider the potential effect future water projects pose to river health and aesthetic enjoyment. Environmental and recreational water needs seem most vulnerable to the SWSI process and IBCC negotiations.
The IBCC needs assessment efforts have been challenged with establishing common methods for quantifying how much water a river needs, and evaluating how Colorado’s rivers will be impacted by future storage and transfers. Stakeholders are working to adopt Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration analysis as a statewide resource for evaluating the impacts that "paper water" and water rights negotiations have on the riparian environment and river recreation. In December, the Colorado basin Roundtable will host a statewide IBCC workgroup meeting in Glenwood Springs to review the IHA program.
To evaluate the impact on desired recreational experiences in Colorado’s rivers, AW and it’s affiliate clubs are working to build on SWSI attributes by gathering data on recreational use and calling on stakeholders to assist in creating recreational flow studies for outstanding recreational values. To demonstrate the methodology, AW has launched its first recreational use survey on the Upper Colorado River basin in conjunction with the BLM Resource Management Plan revisions. The survey will be used to assess a range of desired boating flows for several river segments, and it will identify key resource experts and recreation users to assist in future IBCC negotiations. With the collected data, paddlers can evaluate the impact water management alternatives could have on environmental and recreational use, and participate in basin needs assessments and IHA analysis.
Our next step will be to work with affiliate clubs and volunteers to launch similar surveys in other basins around the state. The IBCC Needs Assessments, for all nine basins, are set to be completed by December 2008.
River Access
After a decade of conflict between private property owners and kayakers on the S. Platte River below Lake George, members of the Sportsman’s Paradise Board of Directors, and American Whitewater are negotiating a formal access agreement. The agreement seeks to facilitate dialogue between Sportsman’s Paradise and private boaters, and outlines a couple access options for paddlers attempting Cheesman Canyon. With a little give and take, and without limiting opportunities for paddlers to run the Canyon when the flow are up, we hope to reach an agreement that will prove to be better than the current system, while respecting private property interests. In response to the 2002 Hayman Wildfire, a cooperative River Restoration and Stabilization Project is scheduled to begin in early spring of 2008, during which flows below Elevenmile Reservoir will be reduced to minimum levels. The restoration project’s objective is to stabilize to river channel, and encourage recovery from eroded hillsides and sediment loading.
In addition, the deteriorating low-head dam just inside SP’s property boundary is up for reconstruction. Paddlers who have seen the riprap and wood beam dam at low flows, know the dangers that lurk.
Later this month, the draft agreement will be posted on the American Whitewater website for review. Before the end of December, the Sportsman’s Paradise Board will vote on AW’s draft agreement, and the final negotiations could be wrapped up before next season. Thanks for everyone’s input into these negotiations!
Conservation Opportunities
The Bureau of Land Management is revising the Resource Management Plans for their Kremmling and Glenwood Springs Field offices in the Upper Colorado River basin. AW and Colorado Whitewater are together representing paddlers in the revision process, and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Suitability study occurring simultaneously. The Wild and Scenic process for the Upper Colorado River is currently focused on identifying and protecting Outstanding Resource Values. Recreational values, particularly floatboating and fishing, are the major drivers for Wild and Scenic designation for the Colorado River and it’s tributaries.
As a stakeholder in the Wild and Scenic suitability process, American Whitewater is collecting data on recreational water needs for 12 significant stretches of whitewater. By tapping into the paddling public, and gathering information on physical characteristics of reaches identified as suitable for Wild and Scenic, we are providing the BLM and it’s stakeholders with important tools for the planning process. Out of our efforts to survey the public and work with experienced paddlers and volunteers, we will identify flow dependent recreational experiences and work to ensure that these values are not adversely impacted by management alternatives.
The online flow survey for the Upper Colorado River basin will be open to paddlers until January 2008. By February, AW will analyze the survey data and report on our findings. In the spring of 2008 American Whitewater, the BLM and stakeholders in the process, will work to conduct more detailed information gathering and field investigation of flow dependant resource values. Key resource experts and experienced river users, identified through AW’s survey and outreach efforts, will play an important role in field reconnaissance. Success
  • AW and affiliate clubs providing recreational use data for IBCC Non-Consumptive Needs Assessments
  • AW is building new relationships with private landowners and raising public awareness of access issues in Colorado
  • AW serving as stakeholder in BLM Resource Management Plan revisions and Wild and Scenic River Suitability study for Upper Colorado and Tributaries
    • Collecting existing data of river characteristics and recreational needs
    • Surveying private and commercial paddlers in UPColorado basin, and identifying experienced users for 2008 Flows Studies.
    • Working with BLM, Colorado River District, and CWCB to find funding for additional flows data collection and analysis for 2008
* This was sent to me by American Whitewater and I thought I would share it as it has everything to do with Colorado paddlers. There is a lot going on in our state. Please join AW if you are not a member. Also, if you have the time take the following survey:
American Whitewater - Flow Survey for Upper Colorado River Basin

Ken Hoeve (hobie)
American Whitewater Athlete Ambassador
Team Dagger

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Old 11-26-2007   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 566

Hobie - Thanks so much for making sure this gets out there to be seen and read. It's really incredible the impact of having our very own Colorado Stewardship Director for AW has made in the past year, and I know you've put a lot of your own time and effort into supporting that program.

As everyone who's taken the moment to read the AW Update can see, Colorado is at a very critical junction with regards to protecting and preserving our waterways and water supply. I know that as a member of American Whitewater my voice is being heard and actions are being set in motion to preserve the places and activities I hold so dear. If you are not already a member of AW, I would strongly encourage you to sign up and take a stand for something you believe in.

Here's another action alert that was sent out earlier today from the Utah Rivers Council which I received from our AW stewardship director. As many of us enjoy the rivers of Colorado and Utah, I thought everyone might take a moment to have a look as well.

River Activists: Help protect the Green, Colorado and other potential Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Moab area!

Deadline: November 30th

This is our chance to get permanent protection for the Green, Colorado and Utah's other outstanding rivers! Please just take a few minutes to submit comments that will help provide permanent protection for these incredible rivers. Without your help these rivers stand little chance of receiving the protection they deserve.

The Bureau of Land Management Moab Field Office has previously found 287 miles of 12 rivers eligible to become Wild and Scenic Rivers, including the Green and Colorado Rivers. Now, the Moab Field Office is attempting to take the next step in the process to have these rivers become Wild and Scenic Rivers - the suitability of these rivers. In August the Moab Field Office released a Draft Resource Management Plan, in which it makes decisions about the future of these rivers.

The preferred alternative recommends only 3 of the 12 eligible rivers as suitable to become Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Moab Field Office is accepting comments on the Draft RMP until November 30th! As such it is vital that everyone that loves these rivers take a minute to submit comments in support of these rivers.

General comments in support are important, but even more important are comments that provide new information about these specific rivers. Any individual comment could be the one that provides the invaluable piece of information that tips the balance in favor of permanent protection of these rivers! On your trip to the Green, Colorado, or Onion Creek you may have seen or experienced something that has been missed so far. Please take a minute to help protect these world famous rivers!

The Council has a new on-line Action Center that you can use to voice your support for real protection of our most outstanding rivers. Follow the link below and click on "Protect the Wild and Scenic Rivers on BLM Moab Field Office land!" There you will find an email letter ready for you to send to the Forest Service.

To take action visit: http://actionstudio.org/?go=3428

NOTE: You can edit this letter to reflect your own experiences and opinions and we encourage you to do so - personal experiences make your comments stronger! However, feel free to just send the form letter - that will help too!


Contact Mark at the Utah Rivers Council for more information at
(801)486-4776 or mark@utahrivers.org.

Mark Cohen
KEEN Field Service Representative - Rockies

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Old 11-29-2007   #3
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 566
1 More Day

Just a reminder that tomorrow is the deadline to voice your support of protecting the Green, Dolores, and Colorado riversheds in UT as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

You can click HERE to find an email letter ready for you to send to the forest service if you haven't already. It only takes a moment...about as long as it would take the flows page to load...so git 'r done.
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Old 11-29-2007   #4
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