Gunnison River: Concrete Levy Restoration


TU partnered with a landowner on restoration of a 500-foot section of bank on a popular recreational stretch of the Gunnison River that had been covered with concrete rip-rap. The armored bank was causing channel incision, and depositing sediment in undesirable location. Lack of vegetative cover and in-channel refuge increased trout susceptibility to low flows and increased water temperature. TU staff created a functional stream/riparian interface and increased river safety by removing concrete rip-rap bank armoring, constructing velocity control structures and reestablishing native vegetation. The combination of structures in the channel (boulders and woody debris) and vegetation on the bank will provide food and refuge for a variety of aquatic species, including trout.


TU cooperated with the landowner and combined resources to improve habitat, user safety, and accessibility. This project will benefit the landowner and boaters, anglers and recreational users on the Van Tyle State Wildlife Area. The timing and location of the project will facilitate discussions on larger scale restoration project for a three-mile reach of the Gunnison River. 


The project removed an eyesore in a high-traffic area, which sees lots of fishermen floating and wading on opposite bank. The local community responded very positively to the riverbank makeover. The landowner is also pleased and wants to continue working with TU. This project may lead to future projects with the landowner on flow improvement projects.

Staff Contact

Cary Denison, Gunnison River Project Coordinator

Jesse Kruthaupt, Gunnison River Project Specialist


Author of this Page

Jesse Kruthaupt, project specialist

Gunnison River
Colorado River basin

Wild Rainbow Trout

Wild Rainbow Trout

Wild Brown Trout

Wild Brown Trout

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye Salmon

Climate Change
Risks to Fishing 

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