Water Corner: Grand County’s Stream Management Plan undergoing an important update, includes stakeholder outreach

Anna Drexler-Dreis
Colorado Basin Roundtable

The Grand County Stream Management Plan was created in 2010 and was the first of its kind in Colorado. Since the inception of the plan, changes have occurred throughout that warrant a necessary reexamination of the technical aspects of the stream management plan to better reflect current river conditions.

In addition, a significant amount of new data (macroinvertebrates, fish, sediment, stream temperature, stream flow and water quality) has been collected that supports a robust watershed assessment to improve characterization and prioritization of areas of concern. The plan update is focused on river health and needs, and the goal is to make general improvements to support stream health for aquatic habitat. 

The Grand County Learning By Doing Cooperative Effort is a nonprofit made up of partner organizations from both sides of the Continental Divide in Colorado, and its overarching goal is to maintain, and when reasonable, possibly restore or enhance the aquatic environment in Grand County. For more information, check out the website at

Learning By Doing’s focus is the Cooperative Effort Area, which includes over 100 river miles in Fraser and Williams Fork River basins upstream of the Colorado River’s confluence with the Blue River in Grand County. Since it was formed in 2013, it has made significant progress in establishing a long term scientific-based program to collaboratively monitor and address changes in the area.

Each year, it designs, funds and implements a plan for field data collection that achieves the goals of monitoring key aquatic metrics in Grand County streams and rivers consistent with the stream management plan. The intergovernmental agreements that founded Learning By Doing state that it is the task and responsibility of the cooperative to update the Grand County Stream Management Plan. 

Updating the plan includes a robust stakeholder outreach program that allows Learning By Doing to engage with a broad diversity of interest groups to inform and support the plan’s update. Peak Facilitation Group, a professional public outreach facilitator, is organizing the stakeholder outreach program. The stakeholder outreach process consists of three groups: a stakeholder group, which has open membership; an advisory board of representatives, a smaller subset of the stakeholder group selected by stakeholders to represent the diverse field of interests involved in the update; and Learning By Doing working with all the groups as the project manager.

The first open house meeting was held in early May. At this open house, Grand County’s Manager Ed Moyer and Grand County Water Quality Specialist Kayli Foulk presented the history and background of the stream management plan, an overview of Learning By Doing and its role in managing the update to the plan. Then, Peak Facilitation Group presented the overall purpose and scope of the update. The meeting concluded with Northern Water’s Jen Stephenson and Trout Unlimited’s Katie Schneider presenting a high-level summary of the objectives and methods for completing a comprehensive watershed assessment of data collected within the Cooperative Effort Area. 

The second open house meeting was held on July 18 at the Granby Library and was well attended by stakeholders. This meeting included a presentation by Seth Mason from Lotic Hydrological on the background chapter of the comprehensive watershed assessment. Samuel Wallace from Peak Facilitation presented an overview of the stakeholder survey results. The meeting ended with an exercise where the stakeholders were encouraged to share their vision on stream and aquatic health within the Cooperative Effort Area. 

The next chance for public engagement will be at an open house in September. Please email for general information or to be added to the email distribution list to be involved in this stakeholder process.

For additional ways to support waterways in the Colorado River Basin, consider getting involved with the programs of the Public Education, Participation and Outreach (PEPO) Committee of the Colorado Basin Roundtable (CBRT). The roundtable is a group of water managers, users and stakeholders who work to solve water-related issues within the Colorado River Basin in the state of Colorado from its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park to the Utah state line. Their goals are to protect, conserve and develop water supplies within the Colorado Basin and the Western Slope of Colorado for future needs. For more information visit

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