Instream Flow: Identification & Protection

Instream flows are the foundation for all fish habitat and provide water for people, recreation and fishing. Program partners use scientifically based flow recommendations to drive management decisions to ensure endangered fish are protected as water is used to grow crops and supply homes and businesses with clean, reliable water.

A map of reservoirs within the Upper Colorado River Basin

Partners Collaborate to Provide Water for People and Fish

Numerous water interests on Colorado’s West Slope collaborate with the Upper Colorado Program to augment streamflows for endangered fish. Every irrigation season, weekly calls are held with reservoir managers and water users in the Yampa and Colorado River basins to coordinate operations that best meet the needs of irrigators, power generators, recreationists and municipalities as well as the fish. Programatic Biological Opinions (PBO) for each of the rivers establish agreements that allow program collaborators to promote recovery of the four species while ensuring that water users can continue developing water resources and exercising water rights in compliance with the Endangered Species Act