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Kevin Moloney

Tom Kleinschnitz has owned Adventure Bound River Expeditions in Grand Junction since 1986. He attributes part of the state’s rapid population growth to its recreational draw.

reational in-channel diversions (RICDs) and instream flow water rights, both relatively junior in priority but crucial to protecting flows against upstream changes of water rights. RICDs can protect a minimum streamflow in a whitewater park while instream flow rights can do the same for a popular fishing run. Both must be approved by the district water court. In late 2010, Grand County applied for a RICD on the Colorado River to stake out rights for two whitewater parks, and Carbondale and Pitkin County have pending applications for RICD decrees on the Roaring Fork. However, Glenwood Springs’ new whitewater park has no legal protection against extreme low flows; the city abandoned its effort to secure an RICD in 2009, citing cost issues for legal and technical studies. The RICDs represent a step toward recognizing the beneficial use of river recreation. But so far, discussions on how to develop the state’s unused share of the Colorado River, based on the terms of the Colorado River Compact, have not sufficiently valued recreational use and environmental needs, according to Ransford. Ransford remains hopeful that the Interbasin Compact Committee can meet its original intent to facilitate cooperative agreements between different users and regions in the state and protect the Colorado River’s remaining range of flows in order to support both recreation and the environment. “It’s hard when you compare rafting and fly fishing with big industries [like agriculture and energy] in Colorado,” Ransford says, “They may pale in comparison statewide, but what you really need to look at is the impact on local economies here.” q

Protecting Western Colorado Water Since 1937

Headwaters | Summer 2011

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Profile for Water Education Colorado

Headwaters Summer 2011: The Mighty Colorado  

As the Colorado River flows through its seven-state, canyon carving traverse, it is tapped and retapped-- supporting acres of irrigated agri...

Headwaters Summer 2011: The Mighty Colorado  

As the Colorado River flows through its seven-state, canyon carving traverse, it is tapped and retapped-- supporting acres of irrigated agri...

Profile for cfwe