Kent Vertrees: Protect Yampa River

Advertisement

As the Yampa River sees more and more threats to its water quantity, quality and environmental integrity, we in this basin need to step up our advocacy in hopes that the Yampa's future resembles its past.

The Yampa is widely considered to be the last untamed river in the Colorado River system. Without the large mainstream dam or current transbasin diversions, today's Yampa still retains a natural hydrograph and free flowing characteristics, which in today's Colorado water world and that of the arid West is something of a dinosaur and relic of the past.

The Friends of the Yampa, in conjunction with the Colorado Environmental Coalition, will be hosting a Yampa River discussion at the Community Center at 6 p.m. Monday.

Topics for the conversation will be:

- To address the goals of implementing management prescriptions for Wild and Scenic status on certain sections of the Yampa River in the BLM's updated Resource Management Plan

- To update people on the Yampa River Pumpback and why we think this is a bad idea for us living in this watershed and all of us living in Colorado.

- To discuss the future of Friends of the Yampa and see if there is a need for us to become a not for profit, 502c-3 organization.

We have organized the Steamboat premier of one of this season's top kayaking videos from Jesse Combs titled "Hotel Charley River of Doubt," which will be showcased after the discussions. This boating film will surely get your heart racing and blood pumping to get on the water and enjoy this coming boating season.

Mr. Carl Brouwer, project manager for the Northern Colorado Water conservancy District visited our basin last week to present the Yampa River Pumpback, a large scale diversion and 200-mile pipeline which would severely impact the flows of the Yampa River for the benefit of those living on Colorado's Front Range.

During his presentation, he stated that he felt as if he had "a bulls eye attached to his back" as he could understand that some of us in the watershed would not agree with the plan.

As he assumed, those of us who believe that leaving water in the Yampa for the benefit of our basin, the Yampa's delicate environment, its endangered fish and world-class river based recreation do not like this idea at all and are extremely apprehensive of the future of the mighty Yampa.

His theoretical "bulls eye" has been attached to the backs of the West Slope water user, specifically the environmental and recreational advocates for non-consumptive, beneficial water; so it was nice to see this old school, Front Range, consumptive first, Water Buffalo cringe and feel what it is like to have the arrow pointed directly at him, for once.

As more and more people move to Colorado, we need to solve our growing water crisis. There is an estimated 30 percent gap between the supply and demand on Colorado's water systems and something needs to occur so that this gap is reduced. We believe that Mr. Brouwer and other Front Range water users should look elsewhere before they destroy the last relatively untamed major tributary to the Colorado River System. The Yampa River needs to remain free flowing forever for the sake of our future generations and this alone will benefit the good of Colorado.

Please come out on Monday night and attend the discussions about the Yampa's future and support the Friends of the Yampa. As we enter into a new water era for our basin and our State, we need to organize and realize how we can preserve the Yampa River and its free flowing characteristics.

Kent Vertrees

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.