Diversion project works to improve fish passage on Fraser River | SkyHiNews.com

Diversion project works to improve fish passage on Fraser River

As part of a major project to improve fish passage, Trout Unlimited will be working with Granby to improve a diversion on the Fraser River.

During Granby’s Board of Trustees workshop Tuesday, representatives involved with the project, including Trout Unlimited, outlined the plan.

The Granby Diversion provides water to the town and other private users. The current diversion is 80 feet wide and 3.5 feet tall on the Fraser River, just southeast of Kaibab Park at the North Service Water station, creating a barrier for fish.

The diversion improvement project would raise the river to create a fish passage and a safer environment while maintaining the way the river works. The design is not allowed to interfere with the water’s historic use or worsen Granby’s floodplain.

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The proposed construction would create low flow and high flow passage for scuplin, an important forage fish for trout that have the hardest time navigating diversions.

The construction project, which will cost an estimated $300,000, will be funded by grants sought by Trout Unlimited from the Colorado Water Counsel Board and a match in-kind from Northern Water for materials and transportation.

The project design aims to create a low maintenance diversion resilient to future flooding events that will facilitate natural steam processes like sediment transport. To do so, the design calls for the streambed to be removed, the river raised and the streambed replaced on top.

The construction will ideally take three weeks of intensive work during the low water season in the fall while maintaining current water supply. The construction will cause disturbances downstream, but those involved with the project said they plan to have a large public component and that landowners will be contacted.

One attendee at the meeting expressed the importance of this communication.

“They have to talk to all the downstream users, individually, as this project goes forward,” the man said. “There are businesses that rely on the fishing habitat. Everybody has to be fully informed before I will give my full support any further with this project. It’s just mandatory.”

Mely Whiting, the Colorado Water Project legal counsel for Trout Unlimited, explained the request for proposals would outline responsibilities of the contractor to contact people downstream. In other projects, she said a communications plan is typically drawn up that outlines when and how the contractor would communicate with the public.

One other benefit of this project will be the improved, non-motorized boating opportunities in the area. According to the project designer, the work will increase boater access along with fishing.

Organizers plan for permitting to be completed this spring so that the project can go out for bid in the summer and be constructed in the fall. Trout Unlimited and Granby are expected to sign a sub-award agreement that moves the grant funds to the town to begin the contracting.

In other business:

  • The town board approved an agreement and ordinance with the Granby Station. The town will vacate a small portion of Fourth Street, allowing the station to create four extra parking spaces, three of which will be ADA compliant.
  • The board approved an ordinance clarifying a section of the town code regulating short-term rentals. The clarification specifies that time-share units, regardless of number of owners, will be considered a single unit in the permitting process and must pay the fees associated for a short-term rental permit.
  • The trustees approved accounts payable for Feb. 11, but continued the approval of minutes for the Jan. 14 and Jan. 28 meetings to correct typos.
  • Members of the board raised issues with certain questions listed on the application for an appointment to the ROSH board. The town attorney agreed to look at the questionnaire to make sure the town board does not overstep its appointment role.

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