The Gunnison sage-grouse disappeared from Pitkin County in the 1960s; in the 1990s, it was extirpated in Eagle and Garfield counties.
The head of the Colorado River District says any funding must be channeled through the Colorado Water Conservation Board to prevent speculation by private buyers.
The reason Yule Creek may have been spared from the spill is because it has been diverted from its natural channel to allow for expansion of the quarry.
To understand why some groups are opposed to even just a study whether storage is an option, it helps to review the contentious history of water development in the Crystal River Valley.
Aspen is now studying how much water from Castle and Maroon creeks it wants to store, and where it wants to store it.
If the county’s aquatic ecologist determines, in future years, that the additional water usage is having a negative effect on stream health, the county could limit Skico’s water use to historical levels — about 200 acre-feet a year.
The money will go toward funding projects that align with the goals outlined in the water plan, as well as toward meeting interstate obligations such as the Colorado River Compact.
The goal of the Youth Water Leadership Program is not only to increase students’ knowledge of their local watershed and Colorado River issues, but also to create student-driven, call-to-action projects.
Some in Western Slope agriculture worry that Front Range water providers, backed by a reliable pot of money from their rate-paying customers, can simply pay ranchers to fallow fields without having to reduce their own water consumption.
“Here you have two terrifying holes,” said Kirk Baker, a local expert kayaker. “You should not have to go around. You should be able to go through.”