Yampa River habitat project causes temporary road closure in Pleasant Valley

CRAIG, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management will begin a habitat improvement project along approximately 0.7 miles of the Yampa River through Pleasant Valley beginning Aug. 23 and lasting about a month. During construction, portions of Routt County Road 18 will be closed on weekdays but will remain open on weekends starting at 5 p.m. on Fridays, including Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6. The road will close again on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m.

“This project will promote cooler stream temperatures while creating more diverse habitat for sportfish along a popular stretch of the Yampa River,” said Little Snake Field Office Manager Bruce Sillitoe. “The project will also help protect riparian habitat by identifying designated parking and angler trails, including access for people with disabilities.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Fishing is Fun Program, whose goal is to improve Colorado's sportfishing resources and anglers' ability to access them, provided funding for design and construction of this habitat and recreation improvement project, in partnership with the BLM, Yampa Valley Stream Improvement Charitable Trust, and contractor, FlyWater, Inc.

Heavy equipment will be used to create a narrower stream channel, with deeper pools, habitat rocks, and anchored woody debris. The project design creates more diverse habitat for aquatic life and provides bank stability, scour features, hiding cover for fish, and shade.

“We’re excited about this project and its goals to diversify in-stream habitat for adult and juvenile trout, improve stream function by promoting sediment transport, and increase angling,” said Northwest Senior Aquatic Biologist Lori Martin.

The north end of the closure will be the seasonal closure gate on RCR 18, and the south end closure will be the intersection of RCR 18 and RCR 18D. The Sarvis Creek State Wildlife Area parking will remain open but will be accessible via RCR 18 from the south only. Property owners needing immediate access should contact Mike Mordi at Routt County Road and Bridge at (970) 870-5337 or via email at mmordi@co.routt.co.us. Any changes to the road closure schedule will be updated on the Routt County Public Works Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RouttCountyComm.

The BLM completed an environmental assessment (EA) to analyze and disclose the potential impacts from the project, which contains additional details about project plans and designs. The EA, finding of no significant impact, and decision document can be found at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2013494/510. For more information about the project, contact Eric Scherff at (970) 826-5085.


This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

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Chris Maestas