Steamboat Springs, CO

The Yampa River through the City of Steamboat Springs is a prized amenity attracting thousands of visitors for active and passive recreation. However, this popularity was creating a negative impact to the riparian corridor and conflict amongst the variety of users. ERC was hired by the City of Steamboat Springs to develop a Yampa River Master Plan to provide a framework for instream and riparian area improvements to optimize the recreational benefits of the Yampa River while protecting its ecological integrity. The plan covered the river and adjacent property on City owned and controlled property (6.4 miles) along the Yampa River. The plan prioritized recommended improvements and provided budgetary cost estimates for City implementation.

ERC hosted multiple public meetings where the technical, administrated and operations and maintenance issues associated with the current river and proposed improvements were discussed. This public input, combined with river reconnaissance performed by ERC and the results of past studies, was the basis for the identification of seven separate River Management Areas (RMAs). Each RMA represents a portion of the river where management priorities such as recreation, flood protection and natural restoration objectives may differ. Within these seven RMAs a combined total of 86 individual areas for restoration were identified. Community input and ERC’s technical evaluation were used to rank the relative priority of each of the improvement areas. Conceptual level designs were developed for each of the 86 improvement areas, which were then used to estimate the budgetary costs required for all proposed improvements. In total the defined improvements were estimated to cost over $5.1 million in 2008 dollars. The City has since used the Master Plan to assist in fundraising and has completed many of the individual restoration improvements identified in the Master Plan.