Monday letters: Crystal River modification, Support Valley Meals |

Monday letters: Crystal River modification, Support Valley Meals

Crystal ‘scheme’ unjustified

As a lifelong user of streams for boating, fishing and enjoying nature, a civil engineer who specialized in designing water projects and a 16-year resident of River Valley Ranch, I have the following comments on the latest scheme for modifying the Crystal River there.

The scheme has two components. One is to replace the existing crude “push up dam” that diverts water into Carbondale’s main irrigation ditch, with a low dam that would be more structurally robust. The dam would also create a pool that would provide improved fish habitat — at least until it filled with sediment.

The additional components consist of various modifications to the channel and banks downstream of that dam. These modifications are “justified” as allegedly “restoring” the stream by making its channel deeper and narrower. In fact, the stream channel always has been wide and shallow, with a bed of loose cobbles and gravel that is typical of every stream channel situated downstream of a steeply sloped “canyon” reach. This coarse sediment is carried by periodic high flows through the upstream canyon and deposited in the channel in the valley below, where the slope and thus the water velocity decrease.

Dredging the channel to deepen it, with the associated release of sediments downstream to Glenwood Springs and beyond, would only deepen the channel for a brief period before it was re-filled with sediment by subsequent high storm flows.

Further, the idea of constructing a site for “environmental education” — including handicapped access — ignores the availability of a better site in Carbondale’s riparian park about a half mile downstream. That site already includes a parking lot with level access to the Crystal River that could be economically improved to make even wheelchair access possible.

The entire scheme is an example of misusing grant funding to “piggy back” modifications disingenuously dubbed as “green” onto an infrastructure improvement that does make sense. Its chief “benefit” has been to make work for the over-abundance of “environmental experts” in the area.

Carl Ted Stude


Support Valley Meals

As for many of you in our close community, I have become a caregiver as a daughter to an amazing 81-year-old woman who has been active and independent her entire life until a year ago. Dementia finally became clear to me when she asked whether she usually comes over for Christmas, a highlight holiday we’ve shared as a family for the past 20 years since she moved here. I cried. I still cry. As much as I love and am close to my mom, I didn’t sign up to be a caregiver, but I did sign her up for Valley Meals.

Valley Meals and More came to life just as COVID-19 hit, and our seniors, homebound or not, were able to receive meals five days a week when they could no longer go to the grocery store or see families and friends. Delivery volunteers provided meals with an additional critical purpose of social connection to decrease the isolation and loneliness. It is an act of humanity, of human kindness.

This program grew out of an unmet need in the greater Carbondale area. It now serves over 80 seniors a day, five days a week. Valley Meals has picked up where the county was unable to provide a solution. It is efficiently run with dedicated volunteers, and hot meals are prepared by local restaurants, Whole Foods and City Market. This is a unique model that has supported our seniors and businesses. So unique, in fact, that the president of Kroger flew out to Carbondale to view and film the food preparation and coordination for the senior meals.

In order to sustain the program after Dec. 31, Garfield County is being asked to commit $85,000 in order to hire part-time staff to support the unpaid executive director who is committed to continuing grant writing and coordination. Now speaking as a taxpayer who has looked over the Valley Meals budget, that $85,000 gets us another $100,000-plus in private grants and donations we wouldn’t otherwise secure without Valley Meals. That’s money left on the table.

Please contact Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky at Ask how our citizens will be fed if the funding is not directed to Valley Meals.

Carrie Jean Podl



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