Decree gives park water right

GJ Sentinel Sunday, January 11, 2009

The last day of 2008 also brought the end of Colorado’s longest-running water-rights contest.

On Dec. 31, state water court Judge Stephen Patrick in Montrose signed a decree finalizing a water right for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

The decision recognizes a year-round base flow of 300 cubic feet per second along with seasonal peak and shoulder flows, echoing the natural rise and fall of the river, depending on water availability.

“This landmark ruling acknowledges that the Gunnison River offers recreational and natural resource benefits that deserve protection,” said Drew Peternell, director of Trout Unlimited’s Colorado Water Project.