Pitkin County Healthy Rivers to fix problem spot along Roaring Fork River
All the permits are in and Pitkin County Healthy Rivers is about to construct a permanent fix for a long-time problem spot on the Roaring Fork River.
The Robinson Diversion Modification Project will address a variety of river health and recreational safety issues in the immediate vicinity of the Robinson Ditch diversion – located between old town Basalt and Willits.
Channel instabilities at Robinson’s diversion point have historically required sediment and log jam removal, and repositioning of boulders and alluvium on an annual basis. These frequent in-stream maintenance events have negative impacts on river health, and many recreational boaters and fishermen view the diversion as a navigational hazard.
In 2017, Healthy Rivers began working with Carbondale-based River Restoration to design a permanent solution to address these concerns. The plan includes modifications that will result in safer boat passage, increased fish passage, improved bank and in-channel stability, reduced annual in-channel maintenance, and improved headgate operations.
The cost of the project is estimated to be $800,000. To date, Healthy Rivers has raised $256,216 in grants from partner agencies. This includes two separate grants from the Colorado Water Conservation Board ($171,216 in funding from the Colorado Water Plan, and $45,000 from the Water Supply Reserve Fund), and a $40,000 Fishing is Fun grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Healthy Rivers may seek additional grants to help offset the project price-tag. The Roaring Fork Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Roaring Fork Fishing Guide Alliance, and the Robinson Ditch Company have all written letters of support for the project.
Construction activities will begin in early December. The project’s permits allow in-stream construction activities between December 1st, 2020 and March 1st,2020. If needed, the county may seek an additional 2-week extension for the in-stream work (through March 15th, 2021). Construction activities outside of the river channel should wrap up by the end of April.
Construction access and equipment staging will be located on the north side of the Roaring Fork River along Willits Lane. Heavy equipment will utilize an existing dirt road that provides direct access to the Robinson Ditch diversion. This access road leaves the south side of Willits Lane approximately 300’ west of the Willits Lane/Two Rivers Road intersection along Highway 82. Vehicles and pedestrians are asked to watch for and abide by all flaggers and construction signage in the area.
For safety reasons, river users are asked to avoid this section of Roaring Fork River through the duration of the in-stream work. During the first phase of the project, the main flow of the river will be temporarily diverted and heavy equipment will be working in and along the river. It will not be possible to boat through the project site while the river is diverted.
The river board invites all interested citizens to follow the project’s progress at https://www.pitkincountyrivers.com/
Contact: Lisa MacDonald, Pitkin County Attorney's Office & Healthy Rivers Program, firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-920-5191