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Old 08-03-2009   #21
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Originally Posted by Ken Vanatta View Post
I hope everyone understands that it should always be a concern. There are rules to follow because misconduct can damage the property, health, and rights of others and things. Changing the contour of the bank can redirect the flow and effect erosion many yards and miles down stream, as well as polluting the river. [cut] ....we need concerned citizens to help keep in check any development, especially around our rivers.
Agreed. While the USACE has created lots of problems elsewhere, they still have authority and qualified hydrologists to make sure someone's "home improvement project" isn't going to screw up the environment, channel, etc.

In addition to the erosion pattern changes Ken mentioned above, the "improvement" that's being done may be something that would cause a drop resulting in a boater touching the river bed. This would result in boaters now becoming subject to trespassing charges at a place where formerly floaters just floated through.

Property owners may also feel that after they've done the "improvement" they have the right to prevent floaters from passing through. This was an issue with a piece of legislation put forth by the property rights lobby a few years ago - if a property owner "improved" a stretch of river (merely stocking fish would've constituted "improvement"), they would have been able to prosecute boaters with trespassing for merely passing by/over their property.

Our right to float in Colorado is tenuous enough to begin with - we need to tactfully, though firmly, defend it anywhere it may be threatened.

The ponds that he is constructing (3) are about 20 inches deep at present flows. The channel was no where near this deep before.
So the guy's basically dredging the channel - that's something that typically requires a permit. Its likely the streambed will suffer short-term environmental devastation but will likely completely recolonize within a few years. There are environmental impacts (sending silt downstream during dredging, ripping out habitat, etc.) occurring though they're relatively minimal in the grand scheme of things.


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 08-03-2009   #22
Moon's Avatar
Silt, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 193
Very well written Andy. This is exactly what I was thinking about. We used to float that channel without touching bottom. Now that he has dredged the bottom to create dams for his "ponds" My daughter and I had to drag our duckies across each "dam". I hope that he dosent have the mind set to think that since he has done all this work that he now owns the channel.

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Old 08-03-2009   #23
CO_Patrick's Avatar
Silverdale, Washington
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 299
Good to see you have some reasoning in that head of yours Jethro. Just because I live on the Front Range doesn't mean I don't remember it's not a semi-arid climate. Furthermore, I live in an apartment and don't have a yard. Mostly I was thinking about what happens when this guy gets all mad about people touching his property. As far as trespassing and river access and crap, that's a whole other topic, so I didn't want to hijack the thread with a lengthy explanation.
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Old 08-03-2009   #24
Silt, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 75
Moon, I noticed you are from the wonderful town of Silt! I boat New Castle to Rifle a lot (and have for about 15yrs) with my family and feel that section is constantly under attack. From ranchers trashing the shorelines and putting barbed wire across channels to gravel pits hauling gravel across, starting fires that ruin the raparian zone and changing stream flow. While what the guy was doing may seem small I feel that it could end up being significant.
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Old 08-03-2009   #25
Droboat's Avatar
Wild Wild West, Colorado
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 214
Don't forget to give the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a call.

They have a considerable role on the Colorado River since the previous live and let die approach to rivers has led to extinction and near extinction of numerous species due to reduced and diverted flows.

Whether it is the stylings of a water buffalo backhoe, rancher backhoe, or water park promoter backhoe, the ecological function of the Colorado River system needs protection from whomever cares to stand up for it, government or otherwise.
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Old 08-03-2009   #26
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
Call it in to any and all approriate authorities and let them decide. If people don't have the courage to stand up to suspicious activity (possibly illegal activity), then things can escalate into bigger issues. Next thing you know, the guy could start building his own resevoir.... LOL
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Old 08-03-2009   #27
Aspen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 377
Originally Posted by Moon View Post
Very well written Andy. This is exactly what I was thinking about. We used to float that channel without touching bottom. Now that he has dredged the bottom to create dams for his "ponds" My daughter and I had to drag our duckies across each "dam". I hope that he dosent have the mind set to think that since he has done all this work that he now owns the channel.
Moon, now that more info has come out in this case, this guy seems in the wrong. I have nothing against putting a few boulders in for habitat or deepening a pool, but dams and ponds go way too far. He would definitely think of them as his and in a few years he could probably convince the sheriff they were vegetated beaver ponds, and no one could portage over them. Up the Frying Pan river a private homeowner convinced the DOW to put in fish weirs to benefit the fish. Once they were put in with sportsmans' dollars, he closed all wading access except for paying guides. He called the sheriff on us and an Eagle county deputy responded and took our personal info after we FLOATED through his property and did not touch bottom. We never heard anything else since the deputy agreed with our stance that floating but not touching was allowed, but one dam or fence would have changed that.
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Old 08-03-2009   #28
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: tues
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 28
neighbors, ethics and western values

The west I grew up in - Silt, CO - instilled in me a deep appreciation or resolving and approaching issues, conflicts and needs as a local community. We try hard to solve problems ourselves, including our fights, as a community, and resort to the higher authorities only when all else has failed. Our country was once pervaded by these values. I really, really miss that, even now, living outside Carbondale, and finding my own neighbors addressing me only through an HOA or other authority, never directly - as an example. They came from elsewhere, from cities, and brought different values. Not better or worse, but not mine. Not ours.

Before even considering contacting an authority, the ethical thing - I claim - and certainly the western rural thing - you have GOT to talk to him. Frankly, without rancor, but honestly. This our my concern, what say you? I vehemently hold that any other action is at best unwestern and unfair, and at worst, simply unethical.

You wanted input.

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