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

Gunnison River Festival June 11-13, 2021


Gunnison River Festival

Gunnison River FestivalThe 2021 Gunnison River Festival board is proud to announce our ever-flowing and developing festival June 11 – 13, 2021. Board staff is currently working on formalizing the schedule for the the three day celebration of our rivers. Educational seminars, dry land and in-flow clinics and competitive live and virtual races will take place on our valley headwaters and the Gunnison River. This year the festival includes a “Run the Gunnison 5K” foot race for the community to participate in. All events will be listed on the festivals website and online registration will be achieved on this site. Come “Celebrate our Rivers” with us early this June 2021. 

Water Monitoring

The UGRWCD team coordinates with existing monitoring programs in the Upper Gunnison River Basin to review data and operations with respect to water quality and quantity.

Grant Program

The Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District was established to conserve the waters within the District to accomplish the greatest possible use for irrigation, domestic, municipal, industrial, mining, and all other beneficial purposes, and to defend and protect the waters of the District. 

A mission of the District is to encourage the in-basin beneficial use and maintenance of high quality standards for the water resources of the basin. The District has determined that an appropriate means to effect its purposes and accomplish its mission is to provide financial assistance to persons or entities advancing projects that enhance water supply and stream conditions within the District through a Grant Program.

The Board of Directors of the District has adopted a Policy Governing the Grant Program that should be reviewed by applicants for financial assistance along with these Guidelines. Please note that the policy and guidelines are updated annually for each grant cycle.

The Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (District) has established a mini-grant program to support educational projects designed to expand awareness of water-related issues in the Upper Gunnison Valley. Grant requests may be up to $300.

Anyone currently engaged in education activities within the Upper Gunnison River watershed (upstream of Blue Mesa Dam) is eligible to apply for a mini-grant. This includes school or university faculty, watershed groups, or other resource organizations with a strong water connection. Western State Colorado University students developing and teaching water curriculum as part of a class may also apply.

For more information, please see the guidelines, or contact the District or call 970-641-6065.