UG 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