Stream Management Planning in the Gunnison Basin
Colorado’s Water Plan includes the objective to have Stream Management Plans for 80% of the state’s important rivers and streams. As described in the Colorado Water Plan, Stream Management Planning focuses primarily on understanding and addressing flow needs for the environment and recreation, which are often referred to as “non-consumptive needs.” The Gunnison Basin Roundtable’s non-consumptive needs assessment, completed in 2010 as part of the Statewide Water Supply Initiative, resulted in this map.
Current Stream Management Planning projects in the basin are taking a more holistic approach, addressing the needs of irrigators and other water users as well as the environment and recreation.
- In the Upper Gunnison Basin, a Watershed Management Planning Group has been formed, which includes water managers and stakeholders from the ranching community and environmental advocacy groups. Gunnison Basin Roundtable and Colorado Water Conservation Board member John McClow describes the planning process this group will undertake in this article.
- In the North Fork Valley, project consultant Luke Gingerich describes the planning process there as an “irrigation management plan,” where the stream is the nexus between all the irrigators. You can view a presentation on this planning process here.