Water Protection

Important News:

On December 22, 2021 the Grand Lake Stakeholders Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was extended through December 31, 2026. The extension was approved by the Bureau of Reclamation, Northern Water, Grand County BOCC, and Colorado River Water Conservation District. The MOU created an adaptive management process to improve Grand Lake clarity while Reclamation plans and complies with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

For more information navigate to the Grand Lake Clarity page.

About

The Water Protection Department is conducted by members of the County Manager’s Office, including the County Manager, Water Quality Manager, and Grand County's Water Quality Specialist. 

The team works on policy and science issues involving water quality and quantity in Grand County to ensure that adequate supplies of high-quality water are available for all uses in the County, from recreation to municipal, and from environmental to agricultural. 

Activities include representation and advocacy for Grand County and West Slope water interests including negotiation of important agreements and programs such as: 

  • The Colorado River Cooperative Agreement (CRCA),
  • Sponsor for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) for the East Troublesome Fire as well as lead the Williams Fork Fire Recovery group,
  • Collaborating with stakeholders to improve Grand Lake clarity, 
  • Active participation in Grand Lake adaptive management, 
  • Implementation of the Grand County Stream Management Plan,
  • Implementation of the Grand County Drought Preparedness Program,
  • Managing water quality monitoring programs,
  • Habitat restoration projects like the Colorado River Headwaters Project to take Windy Gap Reservoir off of the main-stem of the Colorado River channel, 
  • Other activities to restore habitat connectivity between the Colorado River below the reservoir, and the Fraser and Colorado Rivers above the reservoir, and
  • Participation in the public comment process on state permits and water quality standards. 

County staff members participate at every level in Learning By Doing, including the executive, operations, technical and monitoring committees. We work to adaptively manage environmental flows when available, and to identify and execute restoration opportunities. 

Similarly, county staff are engaged in the Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Stakeholder Group, the Grand County Water Information Network, the East Grand Water Quality Board, and the Kawuneeche Valley Ecosystem Restoration Collaborative.

County staff also work to ensure compliance with 1041 permits, including the Windy Gap 1041 permit, and other negotiated agreements, including the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions Page