Spotlight: Stream Management Plan Resource Library

Jan 22, 2020

Author: Kim Lennberg

Contributed by Kim Lennberg, Alba Watershed Consulting

Colorado’s Water Plan, adopted in 2015, includes a goal that 80 percent of locally prioritized rivers across the state be covered by Stream Management Plans (SMP) by 2030. This objective builds on years of conversation, research, and some action to devise a methodology to develop data-driven water management and physical project recommendations capable of protecting or enhancing environmental conditions and recreational opportunities on streams and rivers. As a result, watershed groups across Colorado have been working to develop SMPs to fit their needs.

Upper Gunnison Stream Management Plan
Photo Credit: Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District

Just like individuals, each Stream Management Plan is unique. The local population, setting, and site-specific circumstances greatly influence their goals and activities. But many common threads exist that weave through all of the various and varied Stream Management Plans in Colorado. This blueprint is documented at CWCB and River Network’s SMP Resource Library ( The Resource Library includes an “SMP 101” section on those who are new to the concept, a map of in-progress and completed SMPs with links to fact sheets about each one, and a more detailed section called “SMP Nuts and Bolts.” In this section, for each step in the planning process, the resource library presents examples, best practices, online resources, and methods to consider. The goal of the SMP Resource Library is to enlarge the pipeline of local coalitions that are interested, ready, and capable of undertaking Stream Management Plans, and to advance the state of knowledge around how to craft effective and implementable SMPs.

Groups who are just Getting Started can explore the difference between SMPs and IWMPs or begin a review of existing data sources.

Engage Stakeholders

For ideas on how to successfully Engage Stakeholders, take a look at ways to gather input from the broader community, or approaches for engaging agricultural interests.

Groups who are Defining the Purpose and Scope of their SMP can read about best practice in hiring a technical consultant, explore SMPs at differing geographic scales, or review a table of possible goals and key questions.

For Assessing Conditions  of a watershed or river reach, a wealth of information exists on selecting an assessment framework and considering relevant data sources, for everything from analyzing hydrology to evaluating consumptive water uses to understanding the fishery.

Resource Library case studies will be updated annually as SMPs progress.  Experts in the different assessment areas (hydrology, water quality, recreation, riparian habitat, etc.) are encouraged to submit their ideas and feedback so it can continue to grow and improve.


Colorado Riparian Association