Letter to the Editor: Parri | SkyHiNews.com

Letter to the Editor: Parri

To the Editor:As a family we have lived in Middle Park for 71 combined years. Individually we came to fulfill dreams, to fish, hunt, and ski, and we met on the Colorado River.Setting down roots, building a home and developing a business, we are invested in the well-being of the Colorado and Fraser Rivers. Dave Parri’s Outfitting & Guide Service offers outdoor guiding services to guests, providing them an opportunity to take in and appreciate the beauty we have the privilege of living in every day. Only recently did we truly fear the finality and probable end of the Colorado and Fraser Rivers as we have known them. It hurts to imagine the loss of these life-giving forces that supply us with beauty, recreation, community, economic stability, treasured memories, and an anchor for our lives. They are the life-blood of our valleys where visitors come to play and bask in the riches the waters give to our valleys and which support our local economies. But, sadly, many people don’t understand that when the Grand County Board of County Commissioners signs the Northern Water Conservancy District 1041 Permit, we could be losing the future of our Colorado River and our fishery. Windy Gap is seen as a peaceful sanctuary to observe wildlife. Not observed are the harm this reservoir has caused and the devastating changes measured downstream on the Colorado River, negatively impacting the river ecology and threatening to eliminate the trout population. These past 10 years we personally have seen the loss of the native trout population. Where we once could match a stone fly hatch, now it is rare to ever see a stone fly. The sculpin, a food source once available for trout, have ceased to exist due to hostile habitat. Fly hatches once prolific and dependable are today fleeting and intermittent.All of these changes are directly related to the introduction of Windy Gap. We ask the BOCC to ensure the 1041 permit provides essential measures to make certain we see the restoration of an active and vibrant river habitat to support our Gold Medal Fishery in Grand County. These measures include adequate flushing flows to scour the river and riverbed to refresh the nutrients and entomology. Annual scouring once brought rocks, pebbles and stones downriver to provide a “scrub” to the riverbed and which are now trapped at Windy Gap. To include in 1041 adequate river flows year-round, maintaining adequate water temperatures and oxygenation levels to support the fishery. Thirdly, we ask for the inclusion of a bypass channel through or around Windy Gap to restore a natural pathway for the river.We would also suggest the BOCC include provisions for the maintenance of the river channel to ensure a healthy flow, and funding for future projects to maintain and improve the health of the fishery. We understand Northern Water Conservancy and the Denver Water Board by law are entitled to take their water, but who will speak for the health of the river today and in the future? Yes, we have a stake in this discussion but it is not about taking, it is to encourage the BOCC to stand firm in establishing a future for our Colorado River for our children. They have the ability with their signature to ensure a healthy Colorado River and fishery for generations to come. Dave, Ellen, & Lauren ParriDave Parri’s Outfitting & Guide ServiceHot Sulphur Springs

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