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Mount Antero stands in the background as the Arkansas River flows through the Salida Whitewater Park. A new documentary about the river will air on Rocky Mountain PBS at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 31 (photo by Joe Stone).

A documentary film about the value and importance of the Arkansas River will debut on Rocky Mountain PBS on Thursday, May 31 at 8 p.m.

“The Arkansas River: from Leadville to Lamar” explores the economic and social importance of the river, including its recreational, municipal and agricultural value. The hour-long program documents the water needs and issues that are identified in the Arkansas River Basin Implementation Plan.

The filmmaker, Sam Ebersole of Colorado State University – Pueblo, has been working on the project for several years and interviewed dozens of experts and users of this valuable resource. Water managers, whitewater outfitters, fishing guides, farmers and ranchers tell a story of a river basin and ecosystem that is vital to the future of the entire region.

By the year 2050, the population of Colorado is expected to double. But future growth and economic development hinges on a dependable water supply. In response, the state is implementing a water plan that must meet the needs of a myriad of water users.

The Arkansas River Basin Implementation Plan is an important part of the state’s plan. The documentary aims to educate and inspire viewers to care for this critically important resource.