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Middle Colorado Watershed Council
The Middle Colorado Watershed Council (Council) consists of a diverse set of stakeholders, representing municipal, industrial, agricultural, recreational, environmental, land management, and educational interests, that live and operate within the middle Colorado River Watershed. Originally organized as a collaborative in 2009, the Council incorporated as a nonprofit Colorado corporation in 2013. The Council’s mission is to evaluate, protect and enhance the health of the middle Colorado River watershed through the cooperative effort of its watershed stakeholders. The Council recently completed a plan for the watershed which can be found in its entirety here.
We operate according to a set of core values that include:
Balanced stewardship. Seek common-sense solutions that support multiple uses and reflect local values.
Watershed health. Recognize the interconnections between water quantity, water quality and community and economic wellbeing.
Collaboration. Foster partnerships between diverse stakeholders around common interests.
Informed decisions. Disseminate reliable, unbiased and factual information as the basis for sound decision-making.
The Middle Colorado River Watershed includes the Colorado River and all of its tributaries (excluding the Roaring Fork River) from the Garfield/Eagle County line downstream to the Town of DeBeque. Major tributaries include Roan, Parachute, Rifle, Elk, Canyon, No Name, Grizzly, South Canyon, Divide, Mamm, and Battlement Creeks. This 2,000 square mile focus area includes 84 miles of the Colorado River and a cumulative total of 7,500 tributary stream miles.
The Roaring Fork River, a major tributary in the watershed, is intentionally excluded because of the active watershed management efforts of the Roaring Fork Conservancy (www.roaringfork.org). Also, see www.erwc.org for information on the Eagle River Watershed council, the neighboring upstream watershed organization.
The Council’s statement of goals includes the following:
- Support the long-term health of the watershed for the wellbeing of the community and the local economy.
- Protect and enhance water quality.
- Promote smart, efficient water use and conservation.
- Increase knowledge, awareness and stimulate interest in the watershed.
- Manage the organization and finances effectively and efficiently.
- Inform planning and decision-making with unbiased, fact-based information.
- Create partnerships and collaboration among stakeholders.
Battlement Mesa Metropolitan District
Bureau of Land Management
City of Glenwood
City of Rifle
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Colorado Parks & Wildlife
Colorado River Water Conservation District
Colorado State University Extension
Eagle River Watershed Council
Garfield & Hecht
George Wear Consulting
Natural Resources Conservation Service
US Fish & Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US Geological Survey
West Divide Water Conservancy District
In late 2012, the Council was awarded a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Nonpoint Source Pollution Control program to support the development of a Watershed Plan. This Plan assess existing conditions, identifies and prioritizes needs and issues, and outlines projects, activities and best practices to address those needs. In addition to increasing understanding of the watershed and identifying strategies to sustain its health into the future, this process, and the information it created, will be used to educate the public, local agencies and other entities about the watershed, as well as relevant policy and management issues. It will also facilitate pooling of resources and help coordinate data sharing, monitoring efforts, on-the-ground projects and capital investments.
Description of Work to Be Accomplished
The overarching work of the Council is focused in the following four areas:
- Information. Gather, evaluate, and disseminate information pertinent to watershed health.
- Projects. On-the-ground projects and educational campaigns.
- Outreach and Engagement. Identify and engage the public, partners and stakeholders.
- Education. Increase knowledge, awareness and understanding to promote balanced stewardship.
Ongoing and planned projects include:
- Watershed Assessment - characterizing the existing health of the watershed (completion 2014)
- Watershed Plan – charting the course of action as implementation of specific projects and strategies (completion 2014)
- Monitoring plan – developing a strategy for filling in key data gaps that will increase our understanding of the watershed condition (initiate in 2014)
- River cleanup – an annual event designed to reduce nonpoint source pollution and to heighten citizen awareness around watershed stewardship (spring and fall 2014)
- Educational workshops – bimonthly events focusing on regional topics of importance (on-going)
- Communications plan – for the effective dissemination of unbiased, fact-based information
- Alpine Bank
- Battlement Mesa Metropolitan District
- Bureau of Land Management
- City of Glenwood
- City of Rifle
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
- Colorado River Water Conservation District
- Garfield County
The Council formalized itself as a Colorado nonprofit corporation in December of 2013. This is one of several initiatives underway to establish the Council as a self-sustaining, long-term, financially stable organization. The Board meets monthly and holds bi-monthly stakeholder meetings that are open to the public and include tours, educational seminars, river clean-ups and workshops on topics of regional interest. Today, the Council is a broad stakeholder group that continues to build as more people and organizations get involved.
Website & Contact Information
For more information visit the Middle Colorado Watershed Council website.
Laurie Rink, Middle Colorado Watershed Council