Plans for Bonny remain in the works
Bonny Reservoir, once a popular camping, boating and fishing destination located in extreme southeastern Yuma County, was drained years ago to help Colorado get into compliance with the Republican River Compact with Kansas and Nebraska.
However, efforts by a coalition of county governments and other organizations — named the South Fork Republican River Restoration Coalition — still remain underway to at least partially restore it to its formal usage.
There have been a series of public meetings since last year. The next is being planned for Thursday, March 14, in a joint meeting with the Colorado Agriculture Preservation Association. It will be at Idalia School from 5 to 6:30 p.m., followed by CAPA’s annual meeting.
The coalition has been working on the project for the past two years. Yuma County and Kit Carson County are part of the group, along with Three Rivers Alliance, the Republican River Water Conservation District, Colorado Parks & Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy.
Yuma County Commissioner Robin Wiley told the Pioneer he believes the group is making headway in a positive direction. He stressed that plans do include necessarily refilling the lake, but restoring the stream flow and possibly establishing some non-water and small water recreational activities in and around the old lake bed.
The coalition secured a grant in January 2018 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board for $99,000, with The Nature Conservancy giving the cash match.
Wiley said the money is being used to do Phase I of the project, planning and design.
The coalition has hired Otak Engineering to do channel design and engineering. A firm named Stillwater is doing the habitat restoration planning, and CHM has been hired to do an economic analysis of possible recreational activities.
It had a landowner meeting last August in Idalia to tell the landowners, up and down the South Fork of the Republican River, what the coalition is trying to do and ask for their cooperation.
Last November there were two meetings, one in Idalia and one in Burlington, to get input from the public on the project.
Now comes the March 14 meeting in Idalia. All interested members of the public are invited to attend.