Yampa River

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Yampa River

Date: 05/19/2023     State: CO     Issue: Watersheds     Partner: Friends of the Yampa Airport Origin : Steamboat Springs, CO    


Fly with conservation partner, Friends of the Yampa and the Yampa River Awareness Project to view the watershed from above and connect on efforts to manage the River during increased recreation, as well as protect from dams.

Only a small percentage of the Yampa River's water gets diverted or stored in reservoirs, making it one of the wildest rivers in the Colorado River system. Even with those small diversions (largely for agriculture), the Yampa River retains its natural character, flowing 250 miles from the Flat Tops to the Bear River. In years of heavy snowfall, the river floods its banks and scours its cobble, creating critical habitat for threatened species. The floods maintain the endangered riparian habitats and species that still eke out an existence in this modern world.

Our flight followed the river as it winds through communities like Steamboat, Craig, and Maybell and examined the work being done by our partners to improve recreational access while maintaining the Yampa's ecological integrity. We flew over nearby power plants and ranches to gain the big-picture perspective of the watershed and its many uses. Climate change and proposals for new dams or diversions pose threats to the Yampa and its healthy, intact ecosystem. Our flight partners, including Friends of the Yampa and YRAP, are working to protect against these threats and safeguard the wild river for nearby communities, recreationists, wildlife, and future generations.

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