The City of Aspen and Pitkin County are working with a team of consultants to develop a management plan for the upper Roaring Fork watershed. Watch here for details on what comes next in this planning process.
The Roaring Fork River is highly valued by Aspen residents and visitors, and the quality of life in the valley and success of the local economy rely largely on the Roaring Fork’s ability to support a variety of water uses — both consumptive in nature, such as agricultural and municipal uses, and non-consumptive uses, such as environmental needs and recreation.
The goal of this project is to outline and prioritize options for improving or maintaining the health of the upper Roaring Fork River in a way that reflects local values and priorities, as well as administrative and legal realities governing the use of water in Colorado.
This effort was motivated by several studies in the early 2000s showing varying degrees of ecological degradation in the stretch of the Roaring Fork that flows through Aspen. The project will use a scientific, data-centered approach to understand existing conditions in the upper Roaring Fork Watershed and recommend management alternatives that respond to those conditions.
Additionally, the project will use a “social” approach to understand the community’s values and priorities for the recommended alternatives. The study will focus on the Roaring Fork mainstem and major tributaries between the Twin Lakes diversion system and the Brush Creek confluence. Operational, management and channel modification options will be evaluated for the effectiveness in improving channel dynamics, riparian health, and aquatic habitat. The different alternatives will be vetted through a facilitated technical advisory group and public workshop that considers the financial, legal, administrative, and political constraints and other trade-offs involved with any given alternative. Outcomes will provide the City and County with actionable recommendations that inform future river-related projects, water development planning and approval processes, development of local policies, utilization and management of water infrastructure, and engagement with local/regional organizations or individuals involved in water management decision making.
Contact: April Long City of Aspen stormwater manager and Clean River Program manager April.Long@cityofaspen.com or 970-901-6082