White River Integrated Water Initiative

White River Integrated Water Initiative

About the Study

What Is The White River Integrated Water Initiative?

The White River Integrated Water Initiative (Initiative) is a locally led process to assess and initiate opportunities to protect and improve the White River and the communities that depend on it. The process has and will continue to engage all interested stakeholders. The stakeholders will identify needs and processes to ensure a healthy river and communities. The following is a standardized planning process set forth by the state that most plans and initiatives follow.

Behind the Name

The State of Colorado adopted the Colorado Water Plan in 2016. The Plan proposes to create a water management roadmap to achieve a productive economy, vibrant and sustainable cities, productive ag., a strong environment, and a robust recreation industry. Specific to protecting and enhancing stream flows, the plan calls for 80% of locally prioritized rivers to be covered by Stream Management Plans (SMP) by 2030.

Through this effort, locally led groups are encouraged to develop plans that will help meet the above 80% goal. The Water Plan initially encouraged only SMPs using biological, hydrological, geomorphological, and other data to assess the flows or other physical conditions that are needed to support collaboratively identified environmental and/or recreational values. 

However, experience across the State has shown the need to incorporate a more holistic approach including consumptive uses (agriculture, municipalities, energy, etc.). These types of plans are often called an Integrated Water Management Plan (IWMP). Local communities are encouraged to determine what they want to accomplish and then find the right planning effort to help them achieve their goals.

In Rio Blanco County, the “White River Integrated Water Initiative” will likely develop an IWMP but will also ensure a more dynamic process allowing for greater flexibility by the local community. 

Mission Statement: A community– based initiative to identify action promoting a healthy river that ensures a vibrant agricultural community and maintains healthy fisheries while protecting water rights, quantity, and quality with respect for the local customs, cultures, and property rights.

Overall Goals

1) Protect and preserve existing water rights and other beneficial water uses.

2) Protect and enhance water quantity and quality through promoting best management practices for:

          A) Forest Health

          B) Riparian Health

          C) Rangeland Health

          D)  Favorable Conditions of  Streamflow

3) Identify opportunities for creation or improvement of infrastructure to support efficient consumptive and non-consumptive uses.

4) Support the development and maintenance of efficient and necessary long-term storage solutions that will improve, enhance, and ensure irrigation, river health, water quantity, water quality, and native and recreational fisheries.

PAC Members

- Colorado Parks and Wildlife—David Graf

- Douglas Creek Conservation District—Ron Reich, Rosaly Coombs

- Fishing Representative– Colton Brown, Brett Harvey

- Irrigation Representative– Stu Massey

- Rio Blanco County– Gary Moyer

- Rio Blanco County Farm Bureau– Forrest Nelson, Albert Krueger

- Rio Blanco Stockgrowers– Jon Hill

- Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District– Alden Vanden Brink, Vince Wilczek

- River’s Edge West– Rusty Lloyd, John Leary

- Town of Meeker– Travis Day

- Town of Rangely– Don Reed, Mike Dillion

- Trout Unlimited– Ian Wilson, Brian Hodge

- West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association– Steve Hale

- White River Alliance– Deirdre Macnab, Shawn Welder

- White River Conservation District– Chris Collins, Neil Brennan

- Yellow Jacket Water Conservancy District– Walt Proctor

Map of River Reach Breakouts

Upcoming Meetings

  • TBD


PAC Coordinator: Liz Chandler

Project Coordinator: Kari Brennan