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Old 04-15-2008   #1
brettb's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 131
need legal advice on "my wave"

We touched on this topic a couple of years ago and many of you who knows the answer?

For the last few years I have been moving boulders (byhand) to create some micro eddies and small waves to play on in the river behind my establishment!

2 years ago I had the police called on me and he and I laughed and decide to move them quietly at night! Well now I received a call from the county commissioner saying I must remove any boulders I have placed in the river due to a certain persons complaint!!!

1st what is the allowable moving of rock in and out of water along your property and
2nd how would I explain that its mostly for erosion control and deflection of water from the eroding bank?

at high water most everything I made is under water or toppled over and "my wave" is ripping sweet for this little creek!!!!!!!

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Old 04-15-2008   #2
West By God, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2008
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If you need legal advice you should consult an attorney, but you most likely can't modify the stream in the manner that you have done so. You can probably answer your own question with a little research. Unless the stream flows through federal lands, state law will probably apply. Most states have laws that govern how you may modify the stream. Contact your state's agency in charge of surface water and they will be able to give you some guidance.

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Old 04-15-2008   #3
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Posts: 2,910
Contact the attorney that took care of Jones up on the Lower Blue - no one seemed to mind him doing all kinds of "river improvements."

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-15-2008   #4
grandyoso's Avatar
Icebox, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
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Thats called i've got lots of money and other land to barter with... Turn your head BLM and Public.
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Old 04-15-2008   #5
COUNT's Avatar
Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
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Again, the whole "I'm not an attorney" disclaimer applies.

In Colorado you cannot make any in-stream diversions (i.e. moving rocks, even by hand) without the permission of the USACE. They require drawings and calculations stamped by a professional engineer providing sufficient proof that there will be no change in the floodplain in the area as a result of your modifications. I believe this applies even if you own the adjacent property and for even the most minor of changes.

The reason for this is that you could increase the floodplain causing increased damage to properties outside of yours. Additionally, you could make small streambed changes to illegally take water from the stream.

Again, I'm not a lawyer but this is the way that I understood the water law when I researched it.

"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 04-15-2008   #6
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
the clean water act makes all navigable waters of the US subject to federal regulation. anything you want to do below the ordinary highwater line of any navigable water of the US is subject to section 404 permitting. this permit process goes through your district office of the US Army Corps of Engineers. It does not matter who owns the land, the clean water act applies to all waters of the US regardless of the ownership.

There is a separte State permit, 401 water quality certification, which is also required (most of the time) to do anything below the ordinary high water line.

There are a number of different 404 permits depending on what you are asking to do and how much material you are placing below the OHW.

Drawings do not actually have to be stamped by a PE.

The long and short of your question is that what you are doing is technically illegal.
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Old 04-16-2008   #7
Conejos Canyon & Houston, CO & TX
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 84
Why can fisherman do this?

Overall I prefer a natural river, but don't have an objection to a small enhanced feature here or there in places where the natural beauty is not affected.

I don't know how many streams and rivers in CO have been bastardized by fisherman making 'trout pools'. Another example of discrimination.

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Old 04-16-2008   #8
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
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The short answer is that they can't legally do it either, but the more remote the stream, the less likely anybody is going to say anything about it.

The alteration of waterways is pretty heavily regulated for reasons already mentioned, especially in colorado since water rights are so hotly contested.
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Old 04-16-2008   #9
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 191
You're in Georgetown, just tell them your minning. Really the miners on the creek have told me you can mine a 10'x10' hole without out a permit.

Can't wait to stop in and get some buritos this summer!
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Old 04-16-2008   #10
gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
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Originally Posted by riojedi View Post
Really the miners on the creek have told me you can mine a 10'x10' hole without out a permit.
that is a totally fantastic idea, ive heard that there is gold all over colorado's boring, roadside riffles

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