RCMAP - North Fork Gunnison River at Hotchkiss, Colorado

Science Center Objects

The U.S. Geological Survey was engaged in a program to monitor and assess the long-term geomorphic behavior of selected river and stream reaches that previously had undergone some physical modification.  These modifications included natural channel adjustments to floods as well as intentional channel reconfigurations to alter the function or appearance of a river reach. 

The reconfiguration objectives of the North Fork Gunnison River project reach were to confine a braided channel into a single-thread channel with lower sinuosity to facilitate bedmaterial transport and stabilize streambanks to protect an irrigation canal and headgate. Other objectives were to stabilize the streambed near the Highway 92 bridge, create stable floodplain areas, create off-channel, backwater aquatic habitat, and provide whitewater recreation.

North Fork Gunnison River near Hotchkiss, October 2001

Looking upstream from Cross Section 8, October 7, 2001. Discharge: 70 cfs


The North Fork Gunnison River drains headwaters in the Elk and West Elk Mountains of west-central Colorado. The North Fork Gunnison hydrograph is dominated by snowmelt, and the river has a channel composed of coarse bed material. The river channel near Hotchkiss was unstable and prone to flooding owing to a history of in-channel gravel mining, riparian vegetation eradication, artificial sinuosity reduction, and large bedload discharges. The 1880-m-long monitored reach begins ~100 m upstream (east) from the State Highway 92 bridge (cross section 3) in Hotchkiss, Delta County, Colorado, and extends ~250 m downstream from the County Road 3400 bridge (cross section 14).

Streamflow Data:

Current streamflow: USGS 09134100 North Fork Gunnison River below Paonia

Photographic History:

Upper Monitored Reach

Lower Monitored Reach 

Sediment Surveys

See Sediment Distribution Charts for North Fork Gunnison River at Hotchkiss

Channel Surveys

See Cross Section Data for sites on the North Fork Gunnison River at Hotchkiss