Jeff supports instream flows…do you? Photo: Jeremy Wallace

Fish need water- and we’re working to assure that they have room to swim. An instream flow is a legal water right to protect a quantified minimum amount of water in a stream. Over the past few years, High Country Conservation Advocates’ water program has worked collaboratively to appropriate instream flow protections for several local creeks including Oh-Be-Joyful Creek, the Slate River and Schaefer Creek. Check out these updates below to learn more about our 2017 instream flow proposal for Dutchman Creek and about the current status of our 2016 instream flow proposals for Brush Creek and Coal Creek.

2017 Instream Flow Proposal: Dutchman Creek
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In January HCCA submitted our newest instream flow protection proposal for Dutchman Creek. Dutchman Creek is a small creek in Saguache Country that originates at the Continental Divide and travels through United States Forest Service lands until it joins Owens Creek seven miles downstream. Not only is Dutchman Creek home to a healthy brookie population, but it’s also a popular creek for recreationalists. Dutchman Creek has a trail for hiking, biking, hunting and fishing access adjacent to the healthy riparian area. What Dutchman Creek does not have is an existing instream flow protection. That’s why this January HCCA teamed up with Western Resource Advocates and local consultants to propose an instream flow recommendation that would protect Dutchman Creek’s natural environment. We’ll keep our members posted as we work with the Natural Streams and Lakes Protection Unit to develop this proposal in the coming year. (Left Photo) Dutchman Creek’s little meanders. Photo: Julie Nania

Want to support instream flow protections on Dutchman Creek? Visit our instream flow page to read our proposal and sign a petition in support of this appropriation.

2016 Instream Flow Proposals Update: Coal Creek and Brush Creek
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While developing new proposals we’ve also been busy moving forward proposals for Brush Creek and Coal Creek. Last year together we generated over 700 local comments in support of protecting these creeks that are near and dear to our community. In the words of one supporter, “What Brush Creek has to offer with its fishing, recreation and overall beauty is hard to match”. Coal Creek is our drinking water source and a central feature of downtown Crested Butte. In 2016 our colleagues at the Natural Streams and Lakes Protection Unit helped us to refine and move these recommendations forward. (Right Photo) Brush Creek on a fall day. Photo: Julie Nania

At Water Congress this January the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) voted to move forward with appropriating additional instream flow rights on both of these creeks.

On to the final step in the process!