The Steamboat Springs City Council will consider a document tonight that is intended to guide future recreation along the town stretch of the Yampa River for the next 50 years.
The Yampa River Management Plan was begun in 2001, and after a hiatus in 2002, the balance of the work was completed in 2003. Mike Neumann, the city's open space supervisor, said the plan establishes the baseline health of the river as well as current use patterns. It calls on the city to fund monitoring activities to ensure water quality and the human experience remain within desirable parameters.
The plan was prepared with the guidance of a citizens advisory committee, which included the seven members of the existing Rivers and Trails Committee and an additional dozen interested residents.
"The goal was to get a tool in place for measuring impacts on the river," Neumann said. "The monitoring plan, we think, is huge. We feel it's absolutely critical to gauge the effectiveness of the plan."
Keeping tabs on the river's condition and surveying floaters, trout fishers and nature enthusiasts would cost more than $15,000 annually, the committee estimates. The city of Steamboat Springs spent $90,000 from its general fund to complete the plan.
The city has taken steps to move commercial tubing activities downstream from the Fifth Street Bridge. The plan recommends the city encourage private tubers to do the same.
The plan also would formalize the city's collection of a 5 percent fee from commercial outfitters and expand it beyond a percentage of rental equipment fees. Under the plan, the city would collect 5 percent of gross revenues derived from activities on the river. In recent years, the fee has generated about $10,000 annually, Neumann said. The plan calls for proceeds to continue to go into a separate fund devoted to river enhancements, and assures commercial operators will have influence in how the money is spent.