6.3 EAGLE BASIN
The Eagle Basin underlies approximately 1,500 square miles in north-central Colorado along the western flank of the Continental Divide. The basin is bounded on the east by the Gore Range, on the south by the Sawatch uplift and on the west-northwest by the White River uplift (Figure 6.3-1). The Eagle Basin is primarily located in Eagle County, but also extends into Routt, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Pitkin, and Grand counties.
Figure 6.3-1 Generalized structure map of the Eagle Basin area.
Modified from Tillman, 1971.
The Eagle, Roaring Fork, and Colorado Rivers form the primary surface water drainages in the basin, with the headwaters of those rivers located along the Continental Divide (Figure 6.3-2). The Eagle River generally follows the axis of the basin to the town of Wolcott, where it turns west and meets with the Colorado River at Dotsero. The bulk of the Eagle Basin is included in Water Division 5.
Land use in Eagle County is primarily recreation and tourism with limited ranching outside the Interstate 70 corridor. Recreational opportunities and the proximity of major ski resorts have resulted in tremendous development along the I-70 corridor between Vail and Edwards. According to the 2000 Census, 41,659 people permanently reside in Eagle County, with at least one-quarter of these located in the resort towns of Vail and Avon. Over 2,600 non-alluvial wells are permitted in the Eagle Basin. Most of these water supply wells are clustered near the population centers along the Interstate 70 and Roaring Fork River corridors.