River management plan is topic of public meeting

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— The future of recreation on the Yampa River will be on the table tonight when the city of Steamboat Springs hosts an informal meeting to discuss the Yampa River Management Plan.

The public is invited to exchange ideas with members of two committees working on the plan, which will guide future decision-making on the part of city staff as it balances recreation demand with the health of the community and the river.

The meeting is from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center next to Bud Werner Memorial Library. People are welcome to drop in at any time -- there will not be a formal presentation.

"It's going to be a progress report on where we are in the process," Mike Neumann said. "The meeting will be more like an open house."

Neumann is the city's open space supervisor.

If Neumann had any doubts the residents of the city and its visitors were passionate about recreating on the river, those doubts were eliminated over the weekend. The combination of hot weather and the crowd at Art in the Park transformed the Depot kayak hole into a beach.

The team working toward developing a Yampa River Management Plan is made up of citizens on two panels -- the Citizens Advisory Committee and the River and Trails Committee -- as well as consultants hired by the city and city staff.

They have used the results of a 2001 scientific study of the Yampa to identify five separate reaches of the town section of the river. They are distinguishable by such qualities as river morphology (structure), water quality and plant and animal communities. Ultimately, each of the five could have its own set of management criteria, Neumann said.

Tonight's open house is a chance for people who are interested in the future of the river to learn about the current study. They are also encouraged to make comments of their own, orally and in writing, Neumann said. A series of poster boards will be displayed on easels around the meeting room. Each one will be manned by a participant in the process and devoted to a different set of subjects.

One poster board will present the goals and objectives agreed upon by the active participants. A second will present issues of concern. Another will portray the five reaches of the river that have been delineated. People with questions about the process are welcome to call Neumann at 879-4300. People who cannot make the meeting may learn more online at www.yamparmp.info.


-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205 or

e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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