Yampa River

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Yampa River

Date: 05/21/2022     State: CO     Issue: Watersheds     Partners: City of Craig, Friends of the Yampa, Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District, Yampa Valley Community Foundation Airport Origin : Steamboat Springs, CO    


Provide public officials, conservationists, and members of the media with a broader understanding regarding lack of recreational access to the Yampa River and potential solutions.

Only a very small percentage of the Yampa River's water gets diverted or stored in reservoirs, making it the wildest river in the Colorado River system. Even with those small diversions, the Yampa River retains its natural character and flows much the same as it did before humans arrived. The river annually floods its banks, scours its cobble, and creates critical habitat for threatened species. The floods maintain the endangered riparian habitats and species that still eke out an existence in this modern world.

Climate change threatens these species, as well as the Yampa's beloved recreation. There are few access points along the river and rafting permits are limited. Due to drought, the river-floating season has become shorter, making permits even more competitive. We flew over a new river put-in project that is working to improve river access while maintaining the Yampa's ecological integrity. We flew over nearby power plants and ranch conservation projects to view the large-scale perspective of the watershed and it's many uses. Proposals for new dams or diversions pose threats to the Yampa and its healthy, intact ecosystem. Our partners are working to protect the wild river and the existing uses for municipal, agricultural, recreational, and wildlife values.

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Flight Location