Community Agriculture Alliance: The Yampa River Fund

Mike Robertson
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

All of us who live here in the Yampa Valley are very aware of how important the Yampa River is and how lucky we are to have one of Colorado’s last remaining, mostly free-flowing rivers right in our backyard. But we also know that we can’t take it for granted, and a proactive approach is the best way to ensure that it continues to be a prized resource for everyone. 

The Yampa River Fund is one way that the community has joined together to step up and take action. Through the diligent efforts of several individuals and the generous contributions of many supporters, the Yampa River Fund has reached its initial fundraising goals and the endowment is sufficient to provide a perpetual source of grant funds for projects that have a positive impact on the river we love so much.

The Yampa River Fund has been providing grants to local organizations for three years now; organizations that are working on protecting the water supply, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities provided to us by the river. Projects that address these issues are critical to enhancing water security for communities, agriculture, the economy and the natural environment in the Yampa Valley.

The River Fund will once again be distributing funds in 2023 in support of these goals. Grants from the River Fund may be used for three types of projects: water leases from reservoirs, restoration activities and infrastructure improvements. Eligible applicants include state and local government entities, public districts and irrigation entities, mutual ditch companies, homeowners associations and nonprofits. Private landowners with project ideas are encouraged to partner with one of these entities.

In each of the past three years, the Yampa River Fund has awarded approximately $200,000 to projects that enhance critical low flows through water leases from reservoirs, maintain or improve river function through restoration activities or provide infrastructure improvements that benefit water use efficiency. Grants have been awarded to projects that are distributed up and down the river, from Oak Creek to Craig and many points in between. 

Several different organizations have received funds. Projects have included flow releases from Stagecoach Reservoir during critical low flow periods of the year, design of a whitewater park in Craig, riparian tree planting in Steamboat, planning efforts to highlight Oak Creek’s namesake feature through town, restoration permitting for a diversion structure in Maybell and stream restoration among others. 

This year, the Yampa River Fund will have approximately $186,000 in funds to distribute in grant funding. The application window will open Feb. 20 and close April 3. For more information on submitting an application, visit You may also reach out with questions to

Mike Robertson serves as manager of the Yampa River Fund. For more, visit For more about the Community Agriculture Alliance,

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