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Modernizing Agricultural Water Management in the Lower Gunnison River Basin

A Cooperative Approach to Increased Water Use Efficiency and Water Quality Improvement

Year Awarded: Fiscal Year 2015

USDA Funding: $8 Million

Project Timeline: 5 Years (2015 – 2020)

Conservation Program Funding: Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Watershed Authority (PL-566)

Colorado Counties: Delta and Montrose

Lead Partner: Colorado River Water Conservation District

Project Summary:
This project harnesses local innovation occurring within the agricultural and water communities and integrates activities to accelerate a common mission of utilizing water resources wisely while ensuring agricultural and endangered species sustainability. Although similar activities (improvement in conveyance, delivery, on-farm irrigation) have been occurring in the Lower Gunnison sub-basin, they have been primarily limited, disparate efforts without a unifying ‘grand design’ and without leadership from local producers. This proposal integrates activities and brings together a diversity of partners under a coordinated leadership team to achieve greater water efficiency results and multiply environmental benefits. In addition to water quantity benefits, the partners will use information from a recent Conservation Innovation Grant and national Selenium Soil Interpretation Model to target areas with high selenium. The project also supports a USFWS Biological Opinion.

Watershed Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Lower Gunnison Project - FINAL