Letter: We depend on a healthy Colorado River | PostIndependent.com
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Letter: We depend on a healthy Colorado River

Regarding “The Colorado: Every Drop Must Count” Nov. 8 column by Sen. Mark Udall: Thank you, Sen. Mark Udall, for eloquently pointing out how much we depend on a healthy Colorado River, which is the foundation of our West Slope economy, from agriculture and tourism to energy and municipal growth. West Slope ranchers, business owners, sportsmen and conservation groups have a common interest in pushing for “smart” water solutions that keep West Slope rivers healthy and flowing. To secure our future and quality of life, we must work together.

It’s encouraging that the “smart” infrastructure upgrades and efficiency projects championed by Sen. Udall are well under way in western Colorado. In recent years, Trout Unlimited has been partnering with farmers and ranchers in the upper Colorado River basin on win-win projects that modernize irrigation systems while improving flows and habitat for fish and wildlife. A recently completed project, on the Relief Ditch on the Gunnison River, upgraded infrastructure to improve water delivery for ditch users — an improvement that also enhanced habitat for fish and improved boater safety for recreation users on the main-stem of the river.

These are the kind of pragmatic, innovative water projects that Coloradans of all backgrounds and political stripes can get behind.

As the state of Colorado works to develop a State Water Plan in the coming year, Sen. Udall’s ideas provide an essential starting point. By embracing water conservation and “smart” projects, Colorado can put itself on the path of water sustainability and protect our rivers and streams. In this new age of water scarcity, it’s more important than ever to “make every drop count” to preserve a healthy Colorado River. That should be the goal.

To learn more about “core values” such as innovation and cooperation that can help West Slope water users find common ground, go to http://www.ourcoriver.com.

Richard Van Gytenbeek

Colorado River Basin outreach coordinator

Trout Unlimited


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