Diverse user groups, needs, and demands require strong partnerships

Diverse user groups, needs, and demands require strong partnerships

It is often said about the West, ‘Touch water, and you touch all.’ With the mission of active leadership in all issues affecting the water resources of the Upper Gunnison River Basin, the Upper Gunnison River District is well aware of the sensitive but comprehensive touch needed with our water resources. The District is committed to working in partnership with many diverse groups in the Basin, coordinating the resources and needs of many different users, from individual irrigators to municipalities to groups attempting to maintain or restore healthy aquatic and riparian ecosystems. The District has no agenda in this beyond facilitating best practices, nurturing creative ideas and negotiating fair solutions among user groups for a limited and probably diminishing vital resource.

Here are links to some of the current partnerships in which the Upper Gunnison River District participates.

Celebrating our rivers in Gunnison County – June 20-June 22, 2019.  Education-Participation-Competitions.

The Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District is one of four signatories to the Taylor Park Reservoir Operation and Storage Exchange Agreement.

The Gunnison Basin will face several challenges with respect to water management over the next 30 years. #GBRT is working on them.

Upper Gunnison Basin Meadow and Riparian Restoration Project

Natural meadows and riparian habitats within the sagebrush landscape of the Gunnison Basin are resilient and support a sustaining population of Gunnison sage-grouse and other species, biological communities, ecosystem services and livelihoods in the face of a changing climate. Sustained and long-term community commitment to stewardship of meadows and riparian areas helps nature and land-based livelihoods adapt to climate change.

Between 2012-2018, the meadow and riparian restoration team restored approximately 160 acres with over 1,500 structures along more than 24 stream miles in eight watersheds, enhancing over 1,100 acres of Gunnison sage-grouse brood-rearing habitat. Crews also modified over 100 previously installed rock structures, by adding a second layer, to improve their effectiveness.

This project serves as an important demonstration of simple yet effective tools for increasing resilience of meadow and riparian systems in the sagebrush steppe. The techniques have demonstrated significant results that have potential to improve wildlife habitat, hydrologic function and build resilience at a much larger scale.

The collaboration of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District, local, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, ranchers, and volunteers has been essential in achieving landscape-scale restoration across land management boundaries. This is the type of collaboration that is needed to effectively prepare nature and people for an uncertain future.  For more information about the projects visit the meadow restoration website at www.UGmeadowrestoration.com

The Taylor Park Reservoir is a body of water that was created by the construction of the Taylor Park Dam in 1937 and is located 35 miles northeast of Gunnison.

The Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District is one of four signatories to the Taylor Park Reservoir Operation and Storage Exchange Agreement that was executed in August 1975. The “75 agreement” forms the basis under which the release patterns from Taylor Park Reservoir are determined each year. The other three parties to the agreement are the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Colorado River Water Conservation District, and the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association. Each year, the four signatory parties to the agreement participate in an annual meeting (usually in May) and jointly adopt a plan for reservoir releases for the upcoming year.

Each spring, and as necessary throughout the summer, the UGRWCD seeks input and direction from local users of the Taylor River, Taylor Park Reservoir, and the main stem of the Gunnison River above Blue Mesa as to how the reservoir operations can best be optimized for stream fishery, reservoir fishery, irrigation, and rafting and boating purposes in the upper Gunnison basin.

Taylor Park Local User Group

Don Sabrowski

UGRWCD Director, Taylor River, Division 4

Mark Schumacher

Rafting/Boating Interest

Ryan Birdsey

Water Recreation Interests

Andy Spann

Irrigation Users

Roark Kiklevich

Wade Fisherman

Pete Dunda

Property Interests

Ernie Cockrell

Taylor Placer Representative

Gunnison Basin Roundtable

Colorado’s growth and development as a state are intertwined with water. Development and management of water is complex, controversial and at times contentious. Decisions regarding water have become increasingly complex as Colorado has experienced both unprecedented population growth and a greater emphasis on multiple uses of this precious resource. 

To facilitate discussions on water management issues and encourage locally driven collaborative solutions, nine basin roundtables were established by the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act. These roundtables represent each of the state’s eight major river basins and the Denver metropolitan area. 

The basin roundtables bring more than 300 citizens into water discussions across the state. The broad-based, collaborative nature of this process is reflected in the basin roundtable membership – a set of designated members, 10 at-large members, non-voting members, agency liaisons and the CWCB Board member from each basin. 

Basin Activities 
Each basin roundtable is required to develop a basin-wide water needs assessment, consisting of four parts: 

  1. Consumptive water needs (municipal, industrial and agricultural);
  2. Nonconsumptive water needs (environmental and recreational);
  3. Available water supplies (surface and groundwater) and an analysis of any unappropriated waters; and
  4. Proposed projects or methods to meet any identified water needs and achieve water supply sustainability over time.

Job Announcement

Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District

General Manager

Start date December 1, 2019