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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

Construction starts on Basalt whitewater park

Aspen Public Radio News

A section of the Roaring Fork River is closed to boaters and anglers as crews start building two recreational waves above the Town of Basalt. Pitkin County attorney John Ely said the project is intended as a safeguard against drought.   

“The primary motivation for building this thing [was] to call water to this spot in the river such that in low-flow years, or in low-flow seasons of the year, we can call water and keep this thing wet,” Ely said.  

The first step in that long-term goal of keeping water in the river, is to divert it so crews can build on the river floor. Diggin’ It Riverworks company has been hired to build concrete structures in the channel that will create two whitewater waves.

For several months, the water will be diverted for about 400 feet along an adjacent, dry part of the river channel.

The project has a $770,000 price tag.  


Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.