Sheriff issues restrictions for use of Mesa County rivers

Swollen area rivers prompted the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department today to announce restrictions on the use of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers in Mesa County, while threatening violators with a $50 fine.

Effective today, a “partial use restriction order” will be enforced for the Colorado River, starting at the De Beque bridge and stretching to the Colorado-Utah line, the sheriff’s department said in a news release. The order also applies to the Gunnison River from Whitewater to the confluence with the Colorado. Through June 24, the restrictions will apply only to single-chamber flotation devices, items commonly made for swimming pools such as inner tubes, pool noodles, pool float chairs and loungers, arm floats, the release said.

The order does not apply to commercial rafting operations, vessels, whitewater canoes or kayaks.

Violators could be ticketed for a petty offense and $50 fine, sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said.

High run-off waters, cold temperatures and high levels of debris in the local rivers prompted the restrictions, the release said. Authorities also cited a lack of river access for rescuers due to flooding of boat launches and low-hanging bridges, among other reasons.

Colorado boating statutes and regulations allow Colorado county sheriffs to temporarily restrict use of rivers.


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