The Gunnison is a vital branch of the Colorado River system, and a new and exciting focus area for Western Rivers Conservancy. With its long free-flowing length and habitat for rare flora and fauna, the Gunnison is a thread of life flowing through desert and rocky mountain canyonlands.
In December, we are making our first land purchase along the Gunnison: 131 acres that lie within two inholdings of the BLM Bangs Canyon Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA), located just outside of Grand Junction, CO.
The land traces a lower reach of the river that is one of few places where four species of Colorado Basin warm-water fish still survive. Conserving this river frontage will help ensure the survival of endangered Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, bonytail chub and razorback sucker. When Western Rivers Conservancy conveys the land to the BLM, it will merge into the adjacent SRMA, enhancing recreational access to backcountry trails, rare desert plants and beautiful redrock canyons.
Just upstream, we plan to purchase 396 acres along several miles of the Gunnison River – land that will become an expansion of the newly designated Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. Together, these acquisitions will conserve a critically important river landscape for endangered species, desert habitat and public enjoyment.