As the state of Colorado grapples with whether to implement a demand-management program, which would pay irrigators to temporarily dry up fields in an effort to send more water downstream, there could be unintended consequences for the animals that use irrigated agriculture for their habitat.
Total overnight visitors accessing the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness via the 10 most popular trailheads reached a new record in 2020, with 18,324 entering the backcountry to camp, according to data collected by the Forest Service.
While 2020 overall posted the lowest flow levels at the Aspen wastewater treatment plant in 10 years, the fall months had the highest readings for any September-November stretch in that time.
In order for these water users to keep taking water during a downstream call by an irrigator, they would have to replace about 113 acre-feet of water in the Crystal River per year.
After a low summer season for Aspen and Snowmass tourism last year due to the pandemic, this summer promises to get back on track and even exceed 2019’s occupancy rates.
Water rights for natural river features would represent a shift in a state where putting water to “beneficial use” has traditionally meant taking water out of the river for use in agriculture or cities.
With the peak flows coming in low and early, streamflows are now registering as low as 24 percent of average, on the Colorado River at Westwater.
There is no designated parking near the Lead King Loop trailhead for the trucks and trailers needed to haul the machines. Many in Marble feel this has put the squeeze on their town, population 140, which has limited resources and infrastructure to handle the influx.
Although city officials are moving forward with plans to build the whitewater park, they are — for now at least — forgoing a step that could help protect their newly built asset and keep water in the river.
After meeting the man who’d earlier laid out the claim at the top of today’s Little Nell where the first silver ore outcroppings were discovered, Staats eyed straight across to Smuggler where the same lime and silver had surfaced. By his reckoning, rich claims should be found in Hunter Creek.