An on-the-ground project to improve our watershed:
Improving the King Heatherly Diversion Dam for the health of native species
Located south of Silt, CO on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the King Heatherly Diversion Dam is a structure that has operational issues and needs to be improved. The project objectives are to:
- Improve habitat connectivity for resident fish by improving upstream passage of the structure during the spring flow regime
- Reduce maintenance needs and costs associated with the structure
- Demonstrate the viability of projects of this type in the Middle Colorado watershed (Glenwood Springs to DeBeque)
Secondary objectives include:
- Enhance hydraulics of the diversion structure, thereby improving width to depth ratios, as well as minimizing plunge pools and undermining of the structure;
- Reduce or eliminate entrainment of fish into the ditch during the spring diversion period.
The bluehead sucker is primary native species that will benefit from this structural improvement project. The bluehead sucker has an impressive jump for a sucker, which still isn't that impressive. They are listed as a 'sensitive' species by the Bureau of Land Management for Colorado. This dam is located on East Divide Creek, and would connect three miles of habitat along that creek.
In 2018, the Middle Colorado Watershed Council contracted Wright Water Engineers to make modifications and to improve the structure. The BLM is sponsoring the improvement, as the structure is on public land. Picture updates will be coming soon to document this project.