GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- - The Bureau of Reclamation announces the completion of the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District Regulating Reservoir, a project that several different agencies have been working on for around a decade.
The reservoir is the result of a partnership between the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, the Colorado River District, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, and the Bureau of Reclamation. The 74 acre-foot regulating reservoir is an $8.86 million dollar project, and is the largest feature of the District's Canal System's Improvement Project.
The Colorado Pikeminnow, Bonytail, Humpback Chub and Razorback Sucker are endangered fish species only found within the Colorado River Basin. This reservoir will conserve around 17,000 acre-feet of water per year, which gives the fish more of their ecosystem due to the increase in water flows. "Environmental and recreational benefits that will be provided by the additional flows that will be in the "15-Mile" reach of the Colorado River," says Michelle Garrison, the Water Resource Specialist for the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
The reservoir also benefits local farmers, as they receive a reliable water supply for irrigation purposes due to the canal system. In addition, homes in the area can water their lawns using the regulating reservoir. "It's a mutual respect that we've been able to develop with the needs for a healthy river ecosystem, but respecting the needs of the humans out here too," says Tom Chart, the Director of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program.
The community can help out the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program through some fishing tournaments put on by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. These tournaments can be found at http://cpw.state.co.us/tournament.