St. Louis Creek Flow Restoration
Colorado’s Fraser River flows through a popular ski town and provides recreation and irrigation benefits to thousands of residents and tourists. However, during summer, the legal rights to divert water from the Fraser River diminish flows to a point that water quality, recreation and trout fisheries are compromised—and stream flows frequently fall below the minimum levels considered necessary to support fish and wildlife.
The collaborative solution led by the Colorado Water Trust and Winter Park Ranch Water and Sanitation District augments stream flows in St. Louis Creek and the Fraser River. The project initiated a water leasing agreement to help boost local stream flows in St. Louis Creek and the Fraser River at a time when a significant portion of the river’s water is either diverted to the Denver metro area or used for irrigation in the Fraser River valley.
The project allows Winter Park Ranch to restore flows and protect them in the river during low flow conditions in select years over a ten-year period. In 2013, the project succeeded in restoring over 25 million gallons of water to the lower end of St. Louis Creek, adding cold, clean water to the Fraser.
* Project supports voluntary transactions to change, reduce or stop water use – either temporarily or permanently – to protect or restore water for environmental benefit