Gunnison River runs higher after court fight

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Denver (AP) - The Gunnison River has gone from a trickle to a roar after the National Park Service won a 36-year court battle to restore the river's flow with a federally granted water right.

Extra water started flowing from Crystal Reservoir Thursday into the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park. Levels at the park's entrance are expected to rise from 3.5 to 8.5 feet over the next few days.

Park officials fought in state and federal court to obtain a Federal water right for the park. They say a natural, running river will restore the canyon by stimulating natural spring runoff and the river's ecosystem.

An agreement between park officials, the state, hydropower agencies and farmers was struck in January 2008.

Most water rights in Colorado are granted by the state.

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