The San Miguel Watershed Coalition was recently awarded a Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program grant. This national award is designed to address water quantity and quality issues in the west by developing resilient watershed groups. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman described the purpose of the program, “Reducing conflict over water is an important goal. Working collaboratively with locally-led groups is the best path forward to reduce conflict and develop solutions that will lead to the long-term viability of watersheds.”
As a part of the grant, SMWC will conduct stakeholder outreach, organizational development, and restoration planning throughout the entire San Miguel Watershed. The San Miguel Watershed is impacted by mining-related water quality concerns and low instream flows in the San Miguel River, which pose a threat to native fisheries, during periods of high irrigation demand. The Coalition will broaden its membership through targeted outreach and build on its history of stakeholder engagement to address watershed issues among a diverse partnership including Federal, state, and local government agencies, local conservation groups, and agricultural, mining, and recreational interests. In working toward a watershed restoration plan, the Coalition will monitor water quality throughout the watershed, engage with stakeholders to identify water quality and quantity concerns, and facilitate discussion among the varied interests in the watershed.
Public input will be a critical component in the development of a watershed restoration plan. The Coalition will provide ample opportunity for public engagement in all regions of the watershed and we encourage community members to get involved in this important process!