Plan gets public review

Yampa River project to get under way in June

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The Aquatic and Wetland Co. of Boulder visited Centennial Hall Thursday to present residents with information about a new study projected for the Yampa River this summer.

"All communities living on streams and lakes are aware of the problem," Chairman John Windell said of river pollution. "We're seeing (cleanups) all over."

The company will collect water samples of the river today in order to make an accurate assessment of the health of the Yampa River in the near future.

The Yampa River Management Plan will begin in June as part of a five-phase project focusing on the four-mile stretch of the river.

"We know there's different user groups using the river at the same time. We're looking at everything that's going on," said Steve Johnson, project coordinator.

Phase one of the plan includes informing the public and various committees on the company's intent. Phase two will offer a compilation of digital and nondigital data, such as fish habitat and water quality, related to the study area and the watershed.

"We'll collect information available, plus do field work on the water quality. We'll look intensively at the four-mile stretch of the river and get information from the watershed," Johnson said.

Phase three will create a basic map development integrating databases, maps and data to identify related river information, such as floodplain delineation, land-use planning and geomorphic stability, among many others. Johnson said phases one through three will occur through the summer, with phases four and five continuing next year.

Phases four and five include gathering suggestions regarding river health, present and future land uses and creation of a management plan.

"We want to evaluate the health of the river, pull that information together, so the city can look and plan in the future how they want to address the issues," Johnson said.

Windell said the No. 1 pollutant type affecting streams, rivers and lakes is non-point source pollution that comes from poor land-use practices.

"It's the sediment from poor land-use practices oftentimes. Everyone's concerned about it now," Windell said.

"The non-point has the potential to destroy our streams, especially trout streams," Johnson said.

The company currently does not know of any existing health problems in the river.

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