Managing the Yampa River

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Managing the Yampa River

Date: 06/05/2023     State: CO     Issue: Watersheds     Partner: Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District Airport Origin : Steamboat Springs, CO    


Fly the Yampa River Basin with the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District and Colorado State Representative McLachlan to discuss innovative new projects to protect the Yampa for communities, recreationists, wildlife, and future generations.

It was a beautiful day to see the Yampa from above. The valley was a spectacular bright green, contrasted with heavy snow lingering in the Flat Tops, boding well for farmers and river-runners alike in the thirsty Yampa Valley. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your week in Steamboat, getting to know the Yampa from the ground and above.

The Yampa is one of the wildest rivers in the Colorado River system, flowing 250 miles from the Flat Tops to where it joins the Green River at the iconic Steamboat Rock, with only a small percentage of water diverted out of the river for local agriculture or stored in reservoirs, the two largest of which are used for environmental releases to maintain in-stream flows and protect endangered species habitat. The Yampa supports a thriving and growing recreation economy, offering exciting opportunities for boaters, anglers, and residents and visitors alike to enjoy the quiet beauty of the river.

We flew the Yampa from near its headwaters past agricultural lands, famous river rapids, and the city of Steamboat, gaining a big-picture perspective of the watershed and its many uses. Climate change and increased water demands pose threats to the Yampa and its healthy, intact ecosystem. Amidst these challenges, Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District is taking action to enhance water resources in the Yampa River Basin through innovative projects including a flexible and renewable 10-year contract with the Colorado Water Trust for environmental releases and instream flow use out of Stagecoach Reservoir. The Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District is also building partnerships to create a soil moisture monitoring network to fill data gaps and assist with water management decisions across the Basin and the Western U.S.

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