Elkhead Reservoir Flow Restoration

The Lower Yampa River is a tributary of the Green River and a major part of the Colorado River system. It was also the beneficiary of large-scale restoration efforts by the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program (Recovery Program). One aspect of the Recovery Program’s effort is flow enhancement releases from Elkhead Reservoir, located on the upstream end of the Critical Habitat Reach.

Colorado Water Trust (CWT) led efforts to lease water from the Colorado River District’s supply in Elkhead Reservoir to support the Recovery Program’s efforts. The water leased was used to increase the magnitude and/or duration of the Recovery Program’s releases.

CWT’s effort to restore flows supported the Recovery Programs efforts in 2020. Releases will be managed collaboratively to meet flow targets established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to support the endangered native fish population (Pikeminnow, Humpback Chub, Razorback Sucker, and the Bonytail) that reside in the Lower Yampa River.

* Project supports voluntary transactions to change, reduce or stop water use – either temporarily or permanently – to protect or restore water for environmental benefit



Start Up Date:


Project Benefits:

Environmental Flow Restoration & Protection

Wildlife & Habitat Protection

Project Type:

Flow Restoration Transaction *


Fully Funded