Crystal River deemed endangered |

Crystal River deemed endangered

REDSTONE – American Rivers on Tuesday named the Crystal River among America’s Most Endangered Rivers, shining a national spotlight on the threat dams and water diversions pose to spectacular recreation and fish and wildlife habitat.

Various conservation and elected officials gathered at the river, at a spot south of Redstone, Tuesday for a press conference held in conjunction with the announcement.

“The America’s Most Endangered Rivers report is a call to action to save rivers that are facing a critical tipping point,” said Matt Rice, Colorado conservation director for American Rivers, in a prepared statement.

The Crystal River, which flows into the Roaring Fork River at Carbondale, is threatened with a hydropower dam and 4,000 acre-foot reservoir between Redstone and Marble; a significant water diversion from Avalanche Creek, the largest tributary to the Crystal; and a hydropower dam and 5,000 acre-foot reservoir on Yank Creek, a tributary, according to American Rivers.

The proposed projects will substantially degrade the river and the surrounding area. Fish, wildlife and habitat will be diminished and the scenic qualities of the river valley – along with recreation and related economic values – will be degraded, said the organization.

American Rivers and its partners called on local water districts to reject the dam proposals and support federal Wild and Scenic River designation for the Crystal River, while embracing more efficient and cost-effective water supply solutions.

For more on Tuesday’s announcement, see Wednesday’s Aspen Times.

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