Banks of snow, ice and rocks sit in the Yampa River as it flows through Rich Weiss Park in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday afternoon. Consultants will make their final recommendations for the Yampa River Structures Master Plan at 6:30 p.m. today in Centennial Hall, rooms 113 and 114.

Photo by Brian Ray

Banks of snow, ice and rocks sit in the Yampa River as it flows through Rich Weiss Park in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday afternoon. Consultants will make their final recommendations for the Yampa River Structures Master Plan at 6:30 p.m. today in Centennial Hall, rooms 113 and 114.

Yampa River master plan up for discussion

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Past Event

Yampa River Structures Master Plan

  • Thursday, January 17, 2008, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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— Consultants will make their final recommendations tonight for the Yampa River Structures Master Plan, a city project nearing completion that will guide the future of the river's manmade features.

The structures plan is not to be confused with the Yampa River Master Plan that was adopted by Steamboat Springs City Council in 2004.

The Yampa River Master Plan "was a way to build consensus on how all the different forms of recreation can come together," said Craig Robinson, the city's open space supervisor. "The river structures master plan is taking the next step."

Troy Thompson is president of Ecologocial Resource Consultants, the city's consultant on the project. Thompson said when completed, the master plan will call for the rebuilding of some boating structures, the stabilization and vegetation of some banks and the improvement of river access points.

"I think what we're finding overall is that there are areas where the stream is being impacted by the railroad on one side and development on the other," Thompson said.

Thompson said his company's work does not include taking a stance on what level or types of recreation should be allowed on the river.

"The main focus of our report was not to look at what the uses ought to be," said Thompson, who noted previous studies that outlined the river's current recreational uses. "Our improvements are based on optimizing those uses in these areas."

Ecological Resource Consultants will present draft recommendations tonight, gather feedback from the city and public and incorporate that feedback into a final draft of the structures master plan. Bill Atkinson, a fish biologist with the Division of Wildlife, said he plans to attend tonight's meeting.

"Certainly, I do think there are some areas where accesses need to be improved : to protect banks from further degradation," Atkinson said.

Robinson said severe bank erosion at Rich Weiss Park is one concern likely to be addressed in the master plan.

"We're losing sections of the bank each year," Robinson said. "We're trying to address that and not lose any more of our park."

Robinson encouraged the public to attend tonight's meeting, especially recreational users of the river. Robinson said river users might know something officials and consultants don't, such as where improvements could be made to the river channel and adjacent riparian corridor to improve fishing.

"That's why we encourage the public to participate in this process," Robinson said.

Thompson said his company will emphasize maintaining the benefit and function of the river's natural elements, wherever possible, while promoting recreation at the same time. As the river moves downstream and past downtown, Thompson said, the emphasis on natural features will increase, as the emphasis on boating and other uses decreases.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

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