Together, we succeed in protecting the special places we all love…

As the only local environmental non-profit that advocates for healthy, flowing rivers, pristine air, vibrant wildlife populations, and a molybdenum mine-free Red Lady, HCCA works day-in and day-out to protect and conserve what makes Gunnison County special to us all.

The accomplishments outlined below were achieved operating on a relatively small annual budget of just under $300,000.

Nearly half of our budget is garnered from contributions such as yours, while a copious 87% of our overall income goes directly to supporting the unique programs and campaigns that you and I care so much about.

From protecting important Colorado Cutthroat populations and influencing the first-ever Colorado Water Plan to calling for more protective water quality standards for Coal Creek and insisting that U.S. Energy’s Water Treatment Plant be bonded- High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA) has been effective in protecting and conserving what makes Gunnison County special to us all.

With your valuable year-end donation, we can continue our efforts into 2016. Together we ensure that our mountains, valleys, forests, rivers and wildlife remain viable.

Read on and celebrate what we have achieved together and know that our efforts succeed because of yours. Thank you, so very much, for your continued support!

Keeping the Pressure on to Save Red Lady
Because of generous donors like yourself, we’ve been able to keep the pressure on by ramping up our proactive Save Red Lady efforts at both the state and federal levels. At the state level, we’ve continued to engage as a party in a hearing process directed towards our end goal: more protective water quality standards for Coal Creek. We’ve also worked with local partners to ask the Town of Crested Butte and Gunnison County to raise again with state agencies the need for a bond (or financial assurance) for U.S. Energy’s Water Treatment Plant (WTP) so that we can know, regardless of U.S. Energy’s financial situation, that the $1.8 to $2 million per year operation that’s vital for treating acid mine drainage from the Keystone Mine will continue without interruption.

At the federal level, we’ve said “enough” with the Forest Service’s failure to have a plan of operations, a bond, and public review of the WTP. On October 5, 2015, HCCA sued the Forest Service for this failure as the agency’s decision to put U.S. Energy’s interests ahead of the public health and safety of Crested Butte’s residents and our down-stream communities.

With U.S. Energy’s financial situation continuing its downward spiral, a still depressed molybdenum market, and more cut backs at existing molybdenum mines, we’ll be keeping the pressure on with these proactive endeavors.  This work is how we safe-guard our headwaters community and way of life from past, and potential future, hardrock mining in our watershed.

Stay tuned to updates throughout 2016 as we continue to make progress on saving Red Lady.

HCCA’s efforts to keep Red Lady mine-free and our water quality healthy is exclusively donation-funded.  Your generous support is vital to our success as we continue these efforts in 2016.

Public Lands: The Power of Collaboration and Participation in Management
Your comments and HCCA’s collaboration with local and national partners has been critical during these public processes. Together, we’ve called on land management agencies to protect natural resources from the harmful impacts of proposed natural gas, timber, and coal projects. One example that truly highlights the power of collaboration was our collective efforts during the scoping period for a proposal that would re-instate an exemption for coal mining in North Fork roadless forests to benefit only a single company, Arch Coal. During this comment period, the Forest Service received 100,000 comments calling on it to protect these roadless forests from coal mining and to keep climate-change agents in the ground.

Before the end of the year we anticipate another opportunity for you to tell the Forest Service to protect your roadless forests and keep climate-change causing agents in the ground. Keep your eyes out for our action alert that will make it easy as 1-2-3 to call for the protection of these special forests.

In early winter 2016, we also anticipate filling you in on how you can engage in the forest-wide Forest Plan Revision process—a process that will result in the management guide of your forest for at least a decade to come.

Stay active and engaged in the management of your public lands! We promise to make this easy by keeping you informed so you can be a strong advocate for why you love it here.

Together we can and will protect the public lands you love so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.  Become part of our team today with a tax-deductible donation!


Water: Protecting Our Rivers and Keeping Our Headwaters Healthy
HCCA’s Water Program has had an eventful year working to protect our rivers and keep our headwaters healthy. Last winter HCCA partnered with Western Resource Advocates (WRA) to join a state hearing process in support of a contested instream flow on Schaeffer Creek. Together we were able to stave off the opposition and support an important Colorado Cutthroat population.

We’ve also continued to promote local water efficiency projects and policies to ensure that our community is using our water resources wisely. By partnering with the Town of Crested Butte, we were able to secure funding to pipe a section of the McCormick Ditch to reduce water losses and lower maintenance costs. To further encourage local water efficiency improvements, HCCA provided comments on the Mt. Crested Butte Water and Sanitation District’s Water Use and Efficiency Plan and participated in a partnership with WRA and the Town of Crested Butte to support a system-wide parks irrigation efficiency audit.

2015 was an important year for water policy state-wide as the Colorado Water Conservation Board led the charge to create the first-ever Colorado Water Plan (CWP). HCCA and our members played a role in steering the direction of the CWP by submitting hundreds of comments against trans-mountain diversions and in support of strong environmental protections.

In 2016, we hope to continue increasing the resiliency of our local riparian and aquatic ecosystems by enhancing permanent legal instream flow protections and identifying and restoring degraded riparian areas. Combined, these activities help to keep our streams flowing with clean, cold water.

Thank you for your crucial participation in these efforts and for supporting our work with your generous donations.  Can we count on your continued support as we enter 2016?

Thanks to you, HCCA has had the resources needed to succeed in our work to protect the landscapes you love in 2015.

Our work is simply not possible without dedicated members and donors like you. 

With a generous donation today, you can renew your membership and commitment to HCCA so that together we can continue our successes in 2016.

Please consider a gift today.

Support HCCA in 2016

















Autumn greets winter on Whetstone Mountain


P.S. Your donation is critical to protecting why you love it here.

We look forward to your support!