Stream Management Planning

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 non-consumptive needs assessment was completed in 2010 as part of the Statewide Water Supply Initiative.

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. Additional details have recently been fleshed out in this framework document presented to the board of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District.
  • 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.