The mission of the Western Slope Conservation Center is to build an active and aware community to protect and enhance the lands, air, water, and wildlife of the Lower Gunnison Watershed.



Learn more and get involved by taking action with us.

The Western Slope Conservation Center is always working to ensure the health and preservation of the Western Slope of Colorado by working with our local, state, and federal governments, businesses, conservationists and stakeholders.


Working with the Community to protect our land for generations to come.

At WSCC, we work to ensure continued conservation efforts by working alongside community members and creating educational opportunities within local schools.


The Conservation Center has been working since 1977, check out what we've done.

The Conservation Center maintains an interactive map that includes a wealth of watershed information that you can explore. Our map layers include oil & gas leases and wells, irrigation ditches, restoration sites, soil data, USFS recreation routes, and more.




We formed in 1977 to disseminate information about regional energy development and its impacts on the region’s natural resources. Today, our mission is to build an active and aware community to protect and enhance the lands, air, water and wildlife of the Lower Gunnison Watershed.

As a result of our work, in 35 years the communities of the Lower Gunnison Watershed will be characterized by intact and functioning ecosystems, clean and abundant water resources, well-managed lands with the highest level of protection they deserve, and informed and an engaged citizenry that understand the connection between the vitality of its ecological and social communities.



Once an in-stream gravel mine, we have worked hard and received several grants to restore riparian habitat and make the Park a family-friendly recreation area.


The Conservation Center is dedicated to keeping a watchful eye on the quality of our water quality. Our volunteers monitor every month and collect samples from an established network of stream stations.


The data illustrated in our interactive maps tell the true story of conservation in Delta County. Layers represent oil & gas development, roadless areas, irrigation ditches and more.


Air & Water Quality
Public Lands
River Park

2,000 CFS of Gratitude After the Float Fest

June 6, 2017
Coincidentally enough, 2,000 cubic feet per second was also the water level during the Float Fest this Saturday. From the smooth rigging and takeout to the rocking bands, we have so many people to thank! Captains First, our intrepid captains.     And of course, our sponsors! Waterfall Sponsors Rapid Sponsors   Riffle Sponsors   Volunteers and Board Members We couldn’t have done any of this without our dedicated volunteers and board members–an enormous heartfelt thank you all of you! You got everyone outfitted in PFDs, set up tents, directed traffic, brought games, took out rafts, and much more!   Donors Big Bs provided one tasty lunch and the big top tent! The Rev, Palisade Brewing Company, Ska Brewery, and our volunteer barkeeps kept the libations flowing. Thank you to everyone who donated to the Float Fest Silent Auction! We raised $3600 from the winning bids! Sam and Tara kindly brought and set up the tent housing the silent auction bidding wars. The donors were: The Great Outdoors Company Gunnison River Pro J and Ray Outfitters Shadescapes America Black Canyon Anglers Western Slope SUP John Welfelt of Welfelt Fabrication Earth Friendly Supply Company Jane McGarry and Chuck Behrensmeyer PJ’s Neighborhood Pub Blue Heron Yoga Azura Cellars Mike and Barbara Galloway Ellza Coyle Indigo Autumn Western Anglers Nelle’s Café Black Bridge Winery Shish KaBikes Jill Knutson Painting NRS RIGS Big O Tires Chaco   Musicians Our musicians, Eclectic Alchemy and Mojo.  

Event Recap: Paonia River Park Trail Upgrades

May 18, 2017
Last week the Paonia River Park walking trail received some much needed repairs and upgrades with the help of a crew from Western Colorado Conservation Corps!  Improvements to the trail included: widening and resurfacing narrow sections, rebuilding grade on steep slopes, repairing ruts, replacing bridges, removing invasive species, and replacing sections of the trail where fabric was showing through.  Thanks to everyone who helped out and hope to see you all this summer enjoying the trail!  Interested in seeing the upgrades? Join us this Saturday morning, May 20th, 9-11am, for River Park Clean up!    

Defend our national monuments and the Antiquities Act

May 2, 2017
TAKE ACTION: President Trump is attacking our national parks, public lands and waters in the mountain West President Trump has signed an executive order attempting to eliminate or shrink national monuments that have been protected by past presidents, including Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Canyons of the Ancients, Rio Grande Del Norte, Browns Canyon, and Colorado National Monuments. This is an attack on our heritage and the public lands and waters that are critical to our economy and way of life. The executive order puts the fate of our parks and monuments in the hands of Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke. Now is the time to show Secretary Zinke that residents of the Western Slope want our lands to remain protected. With your help, we can demonstrate the overwhelming public support for Bears Ears and all national monuments. Please submit your comment today. The Bears Ears comment period ends on May 26th! ONLINE COMMENTS ARE DUE BY 11:59PM EST TODAY, MAY 26. Comments submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than May 26, and received at the DOI by June 1. Sixteen presidents from both sides of the aisle have designated national monuments to protect places from the Grand Canyon to Bears Ears to Papahānaumokuākea in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The Act also helps tell a more complete story of our nation, protecting sites from Stonewall to Birmingham to Cesar Chavez. The American Public, including residents of the Western Slope, overwhelming support our national monuments and no president has ever attempted to revoke a predecessor’s monument designation, until now. Tell Secretary Zinke that those of us on the Western Slope want Bears Ears and all national monuments to be protected for future generations. Thanks for taking action today! ### Consider sending a copy of your comments directly to Representative Tipton as well. Contact Representative Tipton: Washington (202) 225-4761 Grand Junction (970) 241-2499 Dear Representative Tipton, I am extremely disappointed that President Trump has signed an executive order that attempts to undermine our national monuments, including Bears Ears, Rio Grande del Norte, and Browns Canyon National Monuments.  I strongly urge you to oppose any efforts to eliminate or shrink our national monuments. Our national parks and public lands and waters help define who we are as a nation by telling the story of our historical, cultural, and natural heritage.  These incredible resources are also critical to western Colorado’s economy – driving tourism, outdoor recreation, and a quality of life associated with healthy public lands. A 120-day review makes a mockery of the decades of work that local communities have invested to protect Bears Ears and other national monuments for future generations. Any honest review of a national monument would be transparent, engage the public, and consider the decades of community engagement behind many of these monuments. Here in Colorado, our support for protecting special places is strong, and the public overwhelmingly opposes this and other attacks on national parks, monuments, public lands, and waters. I urge you to support our

Youth Outdoor Network Year-End Celebration at Sweitzer State Park

May 2, 2017
Delta County Youth Learn and Play at Sweitzer Lake State Park On April 21st, forty-five Youth Outdoor Network students celebrated Earth Day and the end of a successful first year at Sweitzer Lake State Park. Students from the five participating high schools–Paonia, Delta, Olathe, Cedaredge, and Hotchkiss High Schools–learned survival skills from Anita Evans, director of the Nature Connection. Armed with flint and cottonballs and faced with a ceaseless wind, students raced to build a fire the fastest. Ingenuity paid off and those students who incorporated found objects–namely dried horse poop–were the first to get their fires burning. Rotating through stations, students constructed and painted bat boxes; learned to make “seed bombs;” and collected trash to clean up the park. Intrepid students braved the wind and ventured out onto Sweitzer Lake atop stand-up paddleboards and canoes. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife boat accompanied students onto the lake, and pulled out a few students after the wind got the best of them. Teressa Chambers, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer, taught students how to safely shoot a bow and arrow. The archery competition got fierce, and several students shot bulls-eyes after Teressa’s expert tutelage. The whole day was agreed to be a bulls-eye by the students, who are excited for the upcoming year of the Youth Outdoor Network. Youth Outdoor Network: The Youth Outdoor Network is a collaboration between the Western Slope Conservation Center, The Nature Connection, and the US Forest Service that seeks to create outdoor recreation activities and pathways to natural resource careers for local youth. Through field trips, service learning, and guest speakers from government agencies, local non-profits, and outdoor outfitters, students explore outdoor careers and learn how they can start building skills today.
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