From the Grand Junction Free Press (Tambi Katieb):
The Colorado River Restoration & Conservation Project is focused on identifying and implementing restoration and conservation projects on the Upper Colorado River reach in Eagle County. Identified projects will be ranked by ecological priority combined with community support.
The “blueprint” for the Colorado River project was the 2005 Eagle River Inventory & Analysis, also by CSU, which resulted in implementation of many habitat restoration, rehabilitation and conservation projects to the benefit of the ecological health of the Eagle River Watershed.
Literally, millions of dollars of investment have since been leveraged as a result of that work. Perhaps its most significant identified project — the restoration of the channelized Upper Eagle River through Camp Hale — has also just begun and already includes nearly 100 identified project stakeholders.
Field work for the Colorado River Restoration & Conservation Project began this fall to inventory and assess the state of the river, its tributaries, and surrounding riparian area. Data so far collected includes water quality and temperature, macroinvertebrates, and riparian plant survey. The Eagle River Watershed Council has held several stakeholder meetings and is finding that interest in the potential restoration projects continues to expand, especially in light of the many challenges the Upper Colorado River faces as it continues to serve often competing demands.
The project has received broad support including from the Colorado River Basin Roundtable, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Eagle County and its Open Space Program, and Colorado State University. The total project cost is $188,577. With the recommendation of the Colorado River Basin Roundtable, $90,000 of the funding is coming from the Colorado Water Conservation Board through the state’s Water Supply Reserve Account.
While it is still too early for any preliminary results and recommendations of candidate restoration projects, data collection and analysis is well underway under the supervision of Dr. Brian Bledsoe.