Telluride’s San Miguel River Restoration Project

In July, the Town of Telluride Open Space Commission approved nearly $1 million in funding for a project to reroute the San Miguel River back to its original course on the Valley Floor. Approximately 125 years ago, the river was channelized, or straightened, to hug the southern edge of the valley and make transportation of goods down the waterway easier. In 2008, the town purchased the Valley Floor, and one of the main goals of that purchase was to restore the river to its original, meandering course across the conservation easement west of town.

Now, the estimated $1.6 million project will go before Telluride Town Council with a recommendation from the Open Space Commission that the town pays for 60 percent of the project, some $960,000, with the rest of the money coming from outside sources. Some potential funding partners for the project, though for the most part not yet officially committed, include various state agencies, Trout Unlimited, Valley Floor Preservation Partners, and the San Miguel Watershed Coalition.