Enhancing the Environment

The Windy Gap Firming Project fish and wildlife mitigation plan, of which Chimney Hollow Reservoir is a part of, was approved by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission and the Colorado Water Conservation Board in 2011. Support from Grand County, Trout Unlimited and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper followed.

The measures will improve conditions on the Colorado River and will lead to a healthier Colorado River than we see today. The project participants' mitigation and enhancement commitments add more than $23 million in improvements and more than $45 million worth of water for the West Slope.

Hands holding a rainbow trout just out of the water.
Improve Streamflow & Aquatic Habitat
  • Reduce or curtail diversions when stream temperature standards are exceeded and provide additional flows to the Colorado River during low-flow periods
  • Provide flushing flows of 600 cubic feet per second (cfs) every three years (150 cfs more than the original Windy Gap mitigation)
  • Create flushing flows of 1,200 cfs every six years
  • Provide $4 million for aquatic habitat restoration below Windy Gap Reservoir administrated in a cooperative effort by the Upper Colorado River Habitat Project and Learning by Doing
  • Provide funding for improvements to the Fraser Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant to reduce nutrients in the Colorado River and Three Lakes system. Four million dollars has been provided for improvements to reduce phosphorous in a complete project and additional funds will be provided to remove nitrogen from the same plant.
Windy Gap Reservoir
  • Fund a study to determine the potential benefits of building a channel to connect one-mile stretches of the Colorado River above and below Windy Gap Reservoir
  • Provide $2 million toward the construction of a Windy Gap Reservoir connectivity channel
  • Help acquire additional funds to construct the Colorado River Connectivity Channel (more than $10 million of additional funding has been committed toward the estimated project cost of $15 million) 
Provide West Slope Water Supplies
  • Provide a reliable water supply of 2,300 acre-feet per year for Middle Park Water Conservancy District
  • Provide up to 4,000 acre-feet of additional water supply and up to 7,500 acre-feet of storage, when available, for use by Grand County and Middle Park Water Conservancy District 
  • Support a Colorado Water Conservation Board instream flow on the Colorado River between the Blue and Eagle rivers