CO boaters!!! Important RICD trial begins... - Mountain Buzz

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Old 10-18-2005   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 46
CO boaters!!! Important RICD trial begins...

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Old 10-18-2005   #2
pbowman's Avatar
Cody, Wyoming
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 249
There was another string on this topic recently, and it did appear that some of the posters were providing accurate information about RICD's. However, please be aware of the misconceptions being spread by mis-informed reporters:

"Recreational water rights ensure a minimum stream flow in a waterway for recreational uses such as kayaking, rafting and tubing."

This statement is NOT true. A RICD does not ensure a minimum flow unless it is the most senior right on the river, which is nearly impossible. This reporter (and others who make similar statements) is doing a very poor job of summarizing the situation, and the benefit of a RICD can not be stated in one simple sentence.

As boaters, please understand that a RICD granted to Golden, Steamboat, Breck, or Vail will not ensure a minimum flow at those parks at any time during the boating season. The water and flow in those rivers is already over allocated, and controlled by the senior water right holders. The RICD only gets the holder (the towns cited) a seat at the discussion table if a future upstream exchange (such as a trans mountain diversion or upstream reservoir) is proposed, and even then it is a small seat based on the seniority of the right.

bottom line, just be aware that the issue of water rights and RICD's is much more complex than stated by the reporter. and don't expect 1000+ in steamboat or 500+ in golden all summer after the RICD's are granted.
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Old 10-21-2005   #3
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 807
You are right however don't minimize the importance of these filings. It is not a "small seat" you can not injure any water right through an exchange so these rights protect flows for the long term, under normal circumstances. Without RICD filings we could easily see a slow erosion of flows across the State and everyone would wonder what happended. It is dangerous for paddlers to try and minimize RICD and the potential power it holds as a mechinism to protect what we love. It is already hard enought to get paddlers mobilized on this issue because it is complicated and confusing. If you give people an excuse not to care by saying "well you can't call for the water so it is not that critical" I think you are missing the point. If communities are not being denfensive about having water in the stream for recreation we could have a 2002 year every year at some point in the future.
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Old 10-21-2005   #4
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,497
Well said Mike.

RICD's are very important to the whitewater community. On an average year basis, RCID's will generally ensure that current flow conditions exist into the future.

There's plenty of nuances, like conditional water rights, that make this statement a bit misleading, but for the most part if you want to maintain current average flows into the future, you should be in support of RICD's.
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Old 10-21-2005   #5
Cody, Wyoming
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 260
I'm hoping some of you may help shed some light on a a problem we are facing in Cody, Wyoming. Our problem starts with the fact that all of our water is controlled by the heart mountain irrigation district in fact some much that when you call the Bureau of Reclamation about water releases and scheduled flows they tell us they have no idea and that the Heart mountain irrigation district makes all of the calls ( I believe this is not uncommon). How is it that a goverment agency runs the dam but has no say in flows? How can they give that much power to the Irrigators? Our summer flows are very nice and i'm not complaining we have about a 1000cfs from May to October which is a nice flow but winter comes they drop it down to 100-150 and it's barely enough for fish survive considering another 50-70 cfs comes in thru hot springs. Our main objective is get a higher winter flow such as 300cfs. The reservoir never goes under 70% full and to let an additional 150cfs to 200cfs would not make much of a difference thru the winter months considering it usaully has an inflow over 250 most of the winter. We also lost our usgs gauge because the bureau of reclamation decided they did not want to pay for it, we are now stuck with a day old gauge that gives one reading for the last day. Any help would be appreciated boaters are not the only ones throwing a fit the fisherman are also concerned.

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Old 10-21-2005   #6
Master of Chaos
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 73
coldfear, I'd contact your local fish and wildlife dept to start. Then Trout Unlimited to get them fired up. Keepin the fish wet is about all we hope for in Colorado with our instream flow program, which is better than nothing!

I had the pleasure of testifying for the city in the Steamboat RICD case last week. No details yet, on the final outcome.

For all those future filings, please be careful as to how you document and put together your case. Also, the new RICD legislation has some major flaws that we all need to stand up against. More to come on this.
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