Black Canyon river flows swell after 36-year fight

By Mark JaffeThe Denver Post

After one of the biggest water battles in Colorado history, extra water began flowing out of the Crystal Reservoir on Thursday to restore Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Releases will increase over the next few days until the Gunnison River in the canyon rises to six times its current flow — aiming to simulate natural spring runoff and help restore the park's river ecosystem.

The National Park Service fought in state and federal courts for 36 years to obtain a water right for the park.

"This was bitterly fought and had more opposition than any other water right," said Drew Peternell, an attorney for Trout Unlimited.