The San Miguel River is one of Colorado’s last free flowing rivers and is one of the few naturally functioning riparian ecosystems remaining in the Western United States, but even this magnificent river suffers from inadequate flow levels. In dry years, critical portions of the river contain little to no water for up to two months. This is in part contributed to by the diversion structure and delivery system for the CCC Ditch located near Naturita. Given the situation, the Colorado Water Trust, the San Miguel Watershed Coalition, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, and the Bureau of Land Management have begun to work with the CCC Ditch Company to restore flows in the San Miguel.
The project employs a simple but significant mechanism to accomplish its goal: repair of the CCC Ditch to increase the overall efficiency of the CCC Ditch system, allowing the ditch users to maintain irrigation operations while making water available for flow in the currently de-watered stretch of the San Miguel. The coalition has secured project funds and construction will begin soon.