New endowed fund seeks to improve Yampa River health across Northwest Colorado

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Yampa River will soon have its own endowed fund.

A coalition of water managers, ranchers, river rats and conservationists are working to assemble the Yampa River Fund, an endowed fund that would help pay for projects to improve the health of the Yampa River.

The Yampa River Fund would create an endowment aimed at three goals, said Nancy Smith, sustainable food and water program coordinator for The Nature Conservancy Colorado.

The first goal of the fund is to provide a sustainable funding source for reservoir releases from Stagecoach and Elkhead reservoirs in partnership with the Colorado Water Trust.

The Water Trust has released reservoir water to supplement flows nearly annually since 2012. Every summer since then, except for the summer of 2014, the Water Trust and its partners have purchased water out of Stagecoach Reservoir to release into the Yampa and increase flows. Kelly Romero-Heaney, water resources manager for the city of Steamboat Springs, said this could cost more than $100 thousand in a bad year…

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Steamboat Pilot & Today
Eleanor C. Hasenbeck
Original article