Stream Management Planning

Stream Management Planning – what is that?


  • There is a lot of concern about water-related issues in Colorado and the West and how we are going to deal with them in the future
  • The Colorado Water Plan talks about different issues and strategies related to this, and suggests that if water users started talking with each other a little more and working together a little bit better, we might be able to develop some unique local solutions that everyone can agree on that helps solve our water issues while also benefitting all of us in the long run (e.g. instead of irrigators only talking to irrigators, recreationists off doing their own thing, city water users not understanding the impacts of overwatering lawns and cars in the middle of a drought, etc)
  • The Colorado Water Plan has set a goal of getting 80% of the rivers across the state to put together what they are calling a Stream Management Plan or Integrated Water Management Plan, which basically involves gathering all of the interested stakeholders from our watershed, finding out what everyone’s issues and needs and concerns are related to the river and watershed, making a big wish list of everything we would like to see happen on the river and in the watershed from all of these different perspectives, and then seeing how many of these things we might be able to get done if we are willing to work together a little better and maybe employ a little more creativity, particularly as it relates to water use and community and watershed health.
  • So, we thought we’d like to try this out for the Purgatoire River watershed and see how it goes!
  • We are just getting started, talking to all interested stakeholders to determine what everyone’s issues and needs are and what you would ideally like to see happening across the watershed and along the river and on your own property.
  • This effort is being led locally by the Purgatoire Watershed Partnership in collaboration with the Spanish Peaks-Purgatoire River Conservation District.
  • Stream Management Plans (or Integrated Water Management Plans) are locally driven, so the plan will be based on input from local stakeholders. This is why it is so important that we get your input!


Would you like to see – your land, your community, your river, your watershed – healthier, better functioning, more sustainable, more resilient?

Would you like to see:

  • Improved FOREST HEALTH for the benefit of all, including better protection from catastrophic fire and flood, through efforts such as:
    • Better programs to assist private landowners to improve fire protection and forest health on their own property
    • More collaboration and incentives for public and private entities to work together better to conduct forest health/fuels mitigation work along shared boundaries to accomplish larger contiguous areas of improved forest rather than small sporadic patches all over
    • Better and more collaborative pre-fire and pre-flood planning and implementation of critical land management efforts to prevent or significantly reduce catastrophic loss of life and property due to fire and flood
    • Other ideas, concerns, or issues you may have…
  • Exploration of new local solutions and incentives to help our communities and watershed develop better DROUGHT RESILIENCE through efforts such as:
    • Improving agricultural/irrigation, municipal, and industrial infrastructure to increase efficiency and water savings
    • Agricultural community/irrigators working together better to increase water efficiency and water savings (e.g. coordinating river ‘calls’ to move water more efficiently)
    • Education and incentives for City residents to be more responsible about water use such as excessive residential car washing and lawn watering in the middle of a drought
    • All watershed residents committing to CONSIDER how water might be getting wasted on their property, and choosing one or two EASY WAYS to reduce water waste (e.g. installing a low-flow toilet using rebates, fixing that leaky pipe, etc)
    • New education, skills training and resources made available to make your land and/or operation more resilient to drought
    • Explore new, more efficient ways to utilize existing water resources through collaboration and creative problem solving
    • Explore new ways to (for example) improve water quality to utilize alternative water resources (e.g. produced water from oil and gas)
    • Other ideas, concerns or issues you may have…
  • More resources to support FARMING & RANCHING such as:
    • More funding to support basic improvements of older/poorly functioning infrastructure (e.g. pipes, headgates, fencing)
    • Better snow pack data to improve annual water budget predictions and budgeting
    • More watershed-specific hydrologic modeling to improve annual water budget predictions and budgeting
    • Better sharing of or easier access to new research and ideas that could potentially improve the efficiency and function of your operation (you don’t have to use them, but at least have better access to the new ideas and research so you can evaluate them for yourself!)
    • Better educational outreach and engagement to enhance understanding and appreciation of the rich agricultural history of our watershed, and the importance of agriculture in our watershed
    • Better educational outreach and experiential learning to help those not raised in an agricultural setting to learn more about farming and ranching (e.g. Farm to Table Tours, ranch tours, farm days, volunteer opportunities, etc)
    • Better educational outreach and field tours to help all community members better understand how water works in our watershed
    • More local mechanics and other trained experts in our watershed to fix agricultural machinery and provide other relevant support, including more opportunities for local youth to be trained in these professions
    • More or different businesses to better support farming and ranching activities (e.g. materials, equipment, pipe, tires, butchering)
    • Other ideas, concerns or issues you may have…
  • More resources or projects or collaborative efforts tied to HUNTING in our watershed (as it is a significant economic driver in our watershed) such as:
    • Improvements in wildlife habitat such as more wetland development, more upland habitat development, better water resources/water access for wildlife; or other wildlife habitat issues or concerns
    • Better resources to support hunters while also better protecting private property (e.g. better signage, better or updated maps or apps clearly showing private property, better educational materials for visiting hunters to help them orient and stay out of trouble, etc)
    • Other ideas, concerns or issues you may have…
  • More resources or better collaborative problem-solving to improve the ECOLOGICAL HEALTH and function of our river and watershed in areas such as:
    • Improved water quality
    • Improved water quantity in the river (e.g. timing, location, actual amounts) e.g. more creative thinking about other sources of water or ways to fund access to additional water within our watershed, might include more creative thinking of , or at least maybe more collaborative discussion around options for timing of river flows
    • Improved habitat and conditions for aquatic life (e.g. fish, aquatic insects, etc)
    • Better or different bird and wildlife habitat
    • Improved action on cleaning up urban stretches of river
    • More resources to improve the ecological health of your own land for personal benefit as well as the benefit of the watershed
    • Improved bank stabilization on your property that would benefit you personally as well as reduce sedimentation into the river
    • Better addressing other sources of sedimentation into our river
    • More invasive species management efforts and river and land restoration efforts
    • Other ideas, concerns or issues you may have…
  • More resources or projects or collaborative problem-solving tied to RECREATION such as:
    • Better development of water-related recreation in our watershed while ensuring the safety of our community members and no injury to water rights or property rights
    • Development of other recreational opportunities of your interest
    • Development of more recreational amenities tied to your recreational interests (e.g. bathrooms, trash cans, parking lots, signage, maps or apps, guidebooks, gear rental, better development of local guided tours, other)
    • Better information/signage/education and skills training for new or visiting recreators to help maximize their public lands recreation enjoyment while also better protecting our precious natural resources and private property
    • More resources to support development of recreational opportunities on your own property (e.g. bird watching, hunting, fishing) for personal enjoyment or as supplemental income
    • Other ideas, concerns or issues you may have…
  • Improved ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY of your wallet, operation, community, watershed through efforts such as:
    • Efforts already listed above that would also benefit you economically
    • Better skills training for our local youth to fill local positions
    • Other ideas you have tied to the above topics or other topics important to you

So the first step in this Purgatoire Stream Management Planning effort is to conduct a SURVEY with each of you so that your voice is heard!

  • In the survey…
  • We want to hear about things you want to see fixed, changed, or improved:
    • Around the watershed
    • In and along the river near where you live, work or play
    • On your own property
  • Related to the following topics:
    • Key topics of interest to you
    • Other key topics we need your feedback on (some may not be relevant or of interest to you, but we’d like your feedback on as many of these topics as you are willing to address!)
      • Ecological Health of the River
      • Farming & Ranching
      • Municipal & Industrial
      • Recreation
      • Hunting
      • Forest Health
      • Drought Resiliency
      • Economic Sustainability
      • Also – Current Successful Efforts that You Want to See Continue – are there programs or activities or other good things that are already happening around the watershed that you want to make sure keep happening?


Then Contact Us to return the survey to us


We’d love to conduct this survey ‘in person‘, either talking it through over the phone or meeting up at a place that works for you! Contact Us

Thank you for sharing your voice in the watershed!

To learn more about Stream Management Planning/Integrated Water Management Planning efforts around the state, check out these links:

  • – this site provides some examples of SMP efforts from agricultural perspective
  • – this site provides some examples of SMP efforts from Trout Unlimited perspective
  • – this site dives into the nitty gritty details of different options of what can be included in a Stream Management Plan or Integrated Water Management Plan. But remember – our effort on the Purgatoire is LOCALLY driven so YOU help decide what we focus on or don’t!
Please share widely!