The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was passed into law by the United States Congress, in which “selected rivers of the Nation, which with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values, shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.”
CVEPA takes the first steps toward designation by taking an inventory of the lands near the river and outlining a general proposal. There is interest, but also opposition, primarily over concerns with Federal authority over private property and existing water rights.
The USFS formally concludes that the Crystal River is eligible for Wild and Scenic Designation under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and starts managing the river as though it were already so designated.
CVEPA, the National Park Service, and area ranchers meet over several years to develop a survey to gauge how the public would like to see the river managed. The results of the survey were quite favorable for Wild & Scenic Designation, but the Park Service never officially released the results.
Support for designation quietly grows as area ranchers start to place conservation easements on their properties, and citizens realize designation would protect the Crystal from dams and diversions while not affecting private property or water rights.
American Rivers lists the Crystal River as one of America’s Ten Most Endangered Rivers, largely because of the ongoing threat of two dams on the river.
Pitkin County, after initial encouragement by CVEPA, achieved a court settlement with the West Divide Water Conservancy District and the Colorado River Conservancy District to relinquish their conditional rights to construct dams and divert water from the Crystal.
A Wild & Scenic Citizen’s Committee consisting of Chuck Ogilby, Dorothea Farris and Bill Jochems was formed to contact local city and county governments, civic groups, major water users, and citizens to determine their level of support for proceeding with the effort to obtain Wild & Scenic Designation for the Crystal.
The Wild & Scenic Citizen’s Committee completed their contacts with community governments and civic groups and found overwhelming support to proceed.
The Citizen’s Committee completes the first drafts of the required Suitability document and the Congressional Act.
In the second half of 2015, the Suitability document and Congressional drafts will be presented to local governmental and citizens groups to obtain their review, comments and suggestions.
The Crystal River Wild and Scenic River Addition Act of 2018 introduced