PitCo seeks to leave more water in Roaring Fork

by Brent Gardner-Smith, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

Pitkin County is taking unprecedented steps to keep more water flowing down the Roaring Fork River for environmental purposes.

In November, county voters approved a 0.1 percent sales tax worth $1 million a year to create a “healthy rivers and stream fund” to “secure, create, and augment minimum stream flows.”

“I am not aware of any other Colorado county putting in place a tax similar to what Pitkin County has done,” said Linda Bassi, the chief of the Stream and Lake Protection division of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). Ken Neubecker, the president of Colorado Trout Unlimited, also supported the trust agreement between the CWCB and Pitkin County.

“I do think it’s a good idea to have such a trust, whether it’s with the CWCB or the Colorado Water Trust,” Neubecker said. “We need to have financial vehicles where money can be raised for acquisition of in-stream flow water.“