Roaring Fork Conservancy Lower Crystal River Watershed Flow Assessment 2014
(Healthy Rivers Fund $15,000)
Facing the region’s worst snowpack since 2002 and spurred by “Urgent Action” recommendations made by the multi-jurisdictional 2012 Roaring Fork Watershed Plan, the Roaring Fork Conservancy and its partners held a series of meetings designed to engage with major water rights holders in the Lower Crystal River to develop short- and long-term solutions to the river’s flow, water quality and habitat issues. During the course of these meetings, it became evident that insufficient data existed to answer some of the most basic questions being posed by the public (i.e. how much additional water would the Crystal need to be healthy) and to develop creative, scientifically-sound water conservation solutions compliant with Colorado water law.
In response, the Roaring Fork Conservancy launched the Lower Crystal River Watershed Flow Assessment. This effort collected, analyzed and disseminated the critical hydrological and biological information necessary to jumpstart river improvement projects, from the Town of Carbondale to irrigators in the valley. A $15,000 grant was awarded in September 2014 and the project was completed June 2014. The final project is the “Water Rights Allocation and Accounting Model Development for the Lower Crystal River”.