Watershed Management Planning

The mission of the Watershed Management Planning Group (WMPG) is to help protect existing water uses and watershed health in the Upper Gunnison Basin as we face growing pressure from increased water demands and permanent reductions in overall water supply.

Warmer evening temperatures, earlier spring runoff, and unusual precipitation patterns indicate that headwater hydrologic cycles are changing. At the same time, our population in Colorado and in the Valley continues to grow. Meeting future water use needs while protecting our riverine ecosystems will require careful planning and collaboration across a range of entities.

The final Colorado Water Plan (CWP) included a goal to create stream management plans (SMPs) for 80% of Colorado’s watersheds. Locally, the need for watershed management planning has been recognized by the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD), the Gunnison Basin Roundtable, and by a range of other local stakeholders. The collaborative Watershed Management Planning effort is seeking to create a plan to help protect existing uses and improve watershed health by looking at solutions supported by local data and community input. HCCA is helping to coordinate this planning effort in the East River Watershed.

These plans include stakeholder involvement and management actions supported by sound science to help our communities plan and adapt to growth and changing hydrologic conditions while enhancing stream resiliency. This process will utilize both existing and new data sources to analyze and identify necessary flows for ecosystem needs, water use, recreation, and water quality and take into account existing municipal and agricultural uses and shortages. Ultimately the plan will be adaptive, recognizing the importance of accommodating existing and future consumptive use needs while striving to maintain or improve the current state of aquatic ecosystem health- the most effective stream management plans build consensus and prioritize ecological, recreational, and other goals within a given watershed. Once goals are agreed upon, stakeholders work together to identify a range of projects and management solutions to meet these challenges.

We want to hear from you! Add your input to this important process!

Stakeholder input is a crucial component of the watershed management planning process. In the East River Watershed, we’re asking YOU to provide input on how we can collaborate to manage our water resources. We want to learn more about your concerns for the future of our watershed, what your water use needs will be, and how you use our river systems. Did you observe a particularly eroded section of stream bank as you were floating by? Let us know!  Is your favorite fishing hole no longer producing like it used to? Add a note about it. Collectively, stakeholder surveys and feedback will help define the issues addressed and identify potential solutions for the stream management planning process.

Click Here to Fill out the Survey