Windy Gap Reservoir is located along the Colorado River approximately 4 miles west of the town of Granby, in Grand County, Colorado. The reservoir is shallow which increases stream temperature, releases sediment and organic matter into the Colorado River, and blocks movement of fish and other aquatic organisms. Stream health and the aquatic environment has significantly declined since the reservoir was built in the mid-1980s.
Northern Water, acting by and through the Windy Gap Firming Project, has agreed to develop and implement an enhancement plan to improve habitat conditions within and immediately downstream of Windy Gap Reservoir. This plan is called, the Colorado River Headwaters Project and the goal is to: 1) create a bypass channel to reconnect the Colorado River (Windy Gap Bypass); 2) make channel and habitat improvements downstream of the bypass (Habitat Project); and 3) improve irrigation, soil, water quality, and aquatic habitat downstream of the Habitat Project (ILVK Project).
Windy Gap Bypass Project (a.k.a Connectivity Channel)
The goal of the Bypass project is to create a channel around Windy Gap Reservoir so as to eliminate the reservoir's negative impacts. After an extensive study, the Bypass was unanimously selected as the best alternative among the partners.
The goal of the Habitat Project aims to improve the Colorado River channel downstream of Windy Gap Reservoir to improve aquatic habitat and restore river health.
Irrigators of Lands in the Vicinity of Kremmling (ILVK) Project
The Irrigators of the Lands in the Vicinity of Kremmling (ILVK) consist of 12 ranches and BLM land spanning over 12 miles of the Colorado River and 1.5 miles of the Blue River. Impacts to these ranches, formerly irrigated by natural flooding of the Colorado River, was specifically recognized in Senate Document 80, the document that created the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, and provision was made for the installation of irrigation pumps to enable irrigation in light of the anticipated reduction of Colorado River flows. As flows in the Colorado River dwindle due to trans-mountain diversions, the ranchers have been experiencing unsustainable problems with the elevation of the intakes and pump operations.
The goal of the ILVK Project is to create solutions in the Colorado River for agriculture, soil and water quality, and aquatic habitat. The project will create structures to improve both irrigation and riparian/aquatic habitat.