The Colorado Rio Grande Restoration Foundation is the governing body and fiscal agent for the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project (RGHRP). The RGHRP was formed in 2001 from multiple stakeholders to act as a coordinator of activities, a clearinghouse of information, and to secure funds for river restoration work on the Upper Rio Grande. The RGHRP works with partners across the San Luis Valley and within the Upper Rio Grande Basin to complete projects that result in improved streambank stability, riparian and aquatic habitat, recreational safety, and structures in the river channel, such as diversion dams and headgates.
Since its establishment, the RGHRP has worked to implement the recommendations of a variety of assessments and strategic planning efforts, including the initial 2001 Study, the 2007 Watershed Restoration Strategic Plan, the 2015 Stream Management Plans completed for the Rio Grande, Conejos River, and Saguache Creek, and the 2021 Rio Grande Basin Implementation Plan. The RGHRP has collaborated with landowners and local, state, and federal entities to accomplish projects that support the diverse needs of the communities that depend on it through our four Programs:
The Streambank Stabilization and Riparian Restoration Program
The Instream Infrastructure Improvement Program
The Watershed Stewardship Program
The Outreach and Education Program.
As of 2022, over 17 miles of streambanks have been improved, 114 acres of riparian habitat have been restored, and infrastructure on 11 ditches has been updated and improved to meet multiple needs. We are also benefiting Rio Grande recreation opportunities and safety through the Del Norte Riverfront Project and Rio Grande Canal Boater Safety Improvement Project. The local effects of these projects are many, including improved water quality, riparian condition, recreation opportunity, habitat for land and water dwellers, and water transport efficiency and administration. These benefits also improve the condition of the Rio Grande for our downstream neighbors.
Alongside our river restoration projects, we have participated in youth and adult education efforts through the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable and the Rio Grande Watershed Conservation Education Initiative to raise awareness of the current water issues we face and to emphasize the importance of conservation and restoration practices to best manage our resources going forward.
While significant progress has been made to improve the function and health of the river corridors in the Rio Grande Basin, there are many more priority projects that have been identified. Therefore, the need continues to work with landowners and other partners at these sites to implement projects that enhance the ecological, cultural, agricultural, and recreational value of our rivers. Your donation directly supports this work to improve river condition and watershed health within the Rio Grande Basin!