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October 22, 2021 <br /> Mr. Robert Viehl <br /> Colorado Water Conservation Board <br /> 1313 Sherman Street <br /> Denver, CO 80203 <br /> Dear Mr. Viehl, <br /> High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA) submits this instream flow recommendation for <br /> Italian Creek, located in Gunnison County, Water Division 4. <br /> HCCA's mission is to protect the health and natural beauty of the land, rivers, and wildlife in and <br /> around Gunnison County. Many of our members live and work here and enjoy recreational <br /> opportunities and a quality of life that is preserved by our valley's wildlife, habitat, and water <br /> resources. HCCA's 29 year-old water program has a long history of protecting waters in the Upper <br /> Gunnison Basin and in developing an environmental voice within key regional and state forums. <br /> In the past HCCA has partnered with the Bureau of Land Management to support instream flow <br /> proposals on the Slate River and Oh-Be-Joyful Creek. In 2016 HCCA submitted proposals to <br /> protect updated instream flows for Coal Creek and Brush Creek. HCCA partnered with Western <br /> Resource Advocates in 2017 to submit an instream flow proposal on Dutchman Creek. More <br /> recently HCCA submitted instream flow proposals for Gold Creek, Cement Creek, Spring Creek, <br /> Elk Creek and Wildcat Creek, all in Division 4. <br /> The headwaters of Italian Creek originate on United States Forest Service lands in Gunnison <br /> County. Fisheries sampling conducted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) documented a <br /> population of Colorado River cutthroat trout in Italian Creek in 1999. The Italian Creek riparian <br /> area supports diverse habitat including beaver pond complexes with ample high-quality habitat <br /> dominated by willows. HCCA staff observed several small trout and macroinvertebrates when <br /> completing R2Cross assessments in 2020. <br />