Our Environmental Projects

Our agency has completed many environmental projects across the region of Carbondale, Colorado. RWAPA maintains communication with the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other local and regional agencies. These partnerships allow us to effectively manage the day-to-day operations of the water and reservoir release. Our current projects include a variety of environmental and water guidance solutions.

The Roaring Fork Watershed Plan

The Roaring Fork Watershed Plan is a multi-year, multi-agency project aimed at providing long-term water management guidance for the entire watershed. The Ruedi Water and Power Authority is the official sponsor of the Plan and RWAPA staff is guiding the planning process. This effort began with the Roaring Fork Watershed Collaborative, an ad-hoc group of local government planners and interested citizens. Discussions among members of the Collaborative in 2005-6 revealed that concerns about water quality and quantity were common throughout the valley and warranted a more focused study.

The Watershed Plan consists of the State of the Watershed Report, which was completed in 2008, and the Watershed Plan, which is currently underway. The Plan will be developed through a series of public meetings to be held in the second half of 2009. It is anticipated that Plan recommendations will be presented to local governments and water managers in late 2009 and early 2010. The Roaring Fork Conservancy is the primary contractor for planning work.

The Regional Water Efficiency Plan

The Regional Efficiency Plan was undertaken as an implementation action of the Roaring Fork Watershed Plan, which called for increased conservation of local water resources. Funded by local contributions and a grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Plan brought together the five municipal water supply agencies in the Valley (Aspen, Snowmass Water and Sanitation District, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs) to plan for efficient use of local domestic and municipal water supplies in a coordinated and comprehensive process.

The result was updated water conservation and efficiency plans customized for each entity and a Regional Plan that outlined steps to be taken on a valley-wide basis to improve water management. We have followed up on the Plan's recommendations by convening a series of meetings so that local water agencies can learn from each other as they move forward with the implementation of their individual plans.

Public Education

We have sponsored the development of educational material illustrating the issues and agencies associated with Ruedi and its management. These materials include posters, charts and narratives, some of which are available elsewhere on this website. In addition, our organization regularly leads tours of the dam and hydropower facility and appears before local public groups and clubs to discuss Ruedi-related issues. The Poster that we developed in cooperation with the Colorado River Water Conservation District to provide summary information about Ruedi can be viewed here.


ANS Inspection Program

One of RWAPA's recent public education efforts has focused on the issue of aquatic nuisance species, specifically the zebra and quagga mussels that threaten the health and infrastructure of lakes throughout the United States. These freshwater mussels are a central Asian species that were accidentally introduced to North America decades ago in the ballast of cargo ships. They reproduce prolifically and threaten whole ecosystems by eating the microscopic plankton that forms the basis of the food chain.

These small crustaceans also fasten themselves to almost any surface, coating docks, boats and structures and doing billions of dollars' worth of damage in the process. They can be transported inadvertently in ballast or on hulls when boats are taken from one lake to another, so the Authority has sponsored an inspection program aimed at assuring that they do not infest Ruedi. The program is free and is in operation at Ruedi during the busy summer months.

The program carries out more than 1,000 inspections annually and has played an important role in both educating the public and in keeping Ruedi mussel-free since its inception in 2011.

River Visitor's Guide

The Authority has worked with the Roaring Fork Conservancy to produce a series of Visitor's Guides to local waterways aimed at enhancing the experience of visitors to the Fryingpan, Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers. The Fryingpan Guide was first published in 2006 and was followed by the Crystal River Visitor's Guide in 2016. In future years, the Authority and the Conservancy expect to produce guides to the upper and lower Roaring Fork. These handy and informative brochures are available at no charge at most local fishing and tourist-oriented businesses and at local Chamber information kiosks.