PLEASANT VALLEY PROJECT
The Pleasant Valley Project construction will occur on property owned and managed by BLM. The project is being coordinated with BLM and CPW as the Yampa River is also managed by CPW. It has taken approximately two years to refine a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the landowner (BLM) and the Yampa Valley Stream Improvement Charitable Trust (YVSICT). Input by CPW, Stillwater, and FlyWater were taken into consideration in fashioning and coordination of the Project.
The YVSICT and YVFF have performed numerous habitat improvement projects since 1985 including participating with the City of Steamboat Springs in creation of handicap access to the river, stocking of the Yampa River for senior citizens, construction of informational signage, and improvement structures not only to the Yampa but to its tributaries King Solomon Creek, Elk River, Burgess Creek, and Sarvis Creek. In the course of those various projects, the YVSICT, in conjunction with the YVFF, have worked not only with the City of Steamboat Springs, DOW/CPW, and Routt County, but also with local contributors including the Steamboat Springs Chamber of Commerce, Steamboat Ski & Resort Association, U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, each of the local fly shops, local restaurants/merchants, schools, and citizens. At several of the projects, turnouts were in excess of 100 persons (many school children) for plantings and river rehabilitation work. Incorporated is a copy of the History and Achievements of the YVSICT.
The currently planned Pleasant Valley Project has been in the works for five years. The property was acquired by BLM from Western Rivers Conservancy. The location required coordination and cooperation from local, Federal, and State agencies, as reflected in the MOU. It is supported by the entire community and accessible for use by the general public for recreation and enjoyment. The design takes into consideration a 100-year flood plan so as to stabilize the affected area for generations to come. The benefit to the environment, watershed, and fishery is its intended purpose.
This project will improve the health and function of ~4,300 linear feet of BLM-owned reach of the Yampa River between Stagecoach Reservoir and Lake Catamount, including the recently acquired Hubbard Summer Camp property. It is a strategic investment for the watershed due to its location between the two reservoirs which affects river functions and constrains functional habitat. The reach also has a minimum instream flow right under Colorado’s Instream Flow Program. Additionally, the reach is adjacent to a high priority reach identified in the YWGBRT non-consumptive needs assessment. The project will improve functional habitat in a critical reach of the river and leverages future high-priority investment and the potential to increase longitudinal connectivity of higher quality reaches (i.e., more bang for the buck).
Historic impacts to this reach of the river include highway encroachment, channel straightening, and relocation of large boulders out of the channel toward streambanks. Existing conditions include shallow flow conditions with low instream complexity and degraded habitat value, as well as limited room to meander.
This project will address historic impacts, improving river health and function, as well as angling opportunities. Public-access fishing water in the Yampa Valley is becoming increasingly crowded and this project provides higher quality water with year-round fishing access. Fly fishing recreation supports three year-round fly fishing stores in the Yampa Valley, as well as many independent guides and outfitters, contributing significantly to the local economy.
YVSICT has worked diligently for more than five years to steer this project, obtaining needed approvals and setting the stage for successful design, implementation, and long-term monitoring. YVSICT recently gained BLM endorsement and finalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the BLM to allow this project to move forward.