Relief Ditch: A Collaborative Effort


This project will remove a fish barrier, restore impaired habitat, improve diversion controls, and make boating safer on the Gunnison River within the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. This area is widely known as an excellent wild trout fishery, in addition to being home to important native fish.


Trout Unlimited is working directly with multiple project proponents, including the BLM and the water rights owner of the Relief Ditch Diversion, on the completion and shaping of the project. TU acquired over $750,000 in grant funds from multiple entities for the effort in 2011 and 2012.



Over the winter of 2012/2013, TU, with assistance from Stonefly Earthworks, replaced a riverwide push-up dam with a riverwide rock diversion structure and new headgate. This new diversion allows for continued water delivery while greatly reducing impact to the health of the river and enhancing fish passage. Through working on the dam modification, TU has built relationships with the ditch users, which has led to opportunities for down ditch modifications that will lead to flow improvements.


Staff Contact

Cary Denison, Gunnison River Basin Project Coordinator,


Author of this Page

Cary Denison, Gunnison River Basin Project Coordinator

Gunnison River
Colorado River

Wild Rainbow Trout

Wild Rainbow Trout

Risks to Fishing 

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