Volunteers aid greenback cutthroat’s recovery

May 28, 2008

By Trigg White

Special to the Trail-Gazette

Alpine Anglers, the Estes Park chapter of Trout Unlimited, supports the greenback recovery program by recruiting and coordinating the volunteers that Kennedy needs. Austin Condon is the group’s volunteer coordinator. “We’ve got a core team of about 35 volunteers who delivered more than 1,100 hours of service to the greenback program last year,” reports Condon. Volunteers man dip nets and fishing rods to assist with population surveys and collecting tissue samples. “It’s tough work,” says Condon smiling, “fishing for science in some of the most beautiful alpine lakes in the park.”


Roadless Roadshow

May 26, 2008

Roadless Areas of the Pike-San Isabel

A Wild Connections Event in 7 Communities

2008 PSI Inventory Boreas/Jefferson

2008 Roadless Inventory

Attend one of Wild Connections’ Community Meetings. Wild Connections is sponsoring a “Roadless Roadshow” in 7 communities in early June. This free public presentation will discuss the ecological values of Roadless areas, give details and facts pertaining to the current management of these areas such as fire management flexibility, and provide trails and hiking information so you can go explore Roadless areas in your own backyard. Please attend one of these shows!

  • Evergreen – Wednesday, June 4
  • Pueblo – Thursday, June 5
  • Salida – Monday, June 9
  • Westcliffe – Tuesday, June 10
  • Leadville – Wednesday, June 11
  • Colorado Springs – Thursday, June 12
  • Denver – TBA

Why is this timely and important? The US Forest Service is working right now on developing a Colorado-specific rule. The draft Colorado Roadless Rule is slated to be published in June. While we don’t know the details of what this new Colorado rule will look like, we are certain that it will weaken current protections currently afforded to these undeveloped lands. Wild Connections, and the broader conservation community, have made it a priority to analyze the impacts of the proposed rule, and we will need your voice to help ensure that the human and ecological services that Colorado’s Roadless lands provide are not compromised.


Pike-San Isabel Restarts the Forest Plan Revision

Ensuring Sensible Land Management Practices for the next 15 years

Dils gets top award from river forum

May 25, 2008



“Newly minted Colorado Water Conservation Board member Reed Dils [and former Collegiate Peaks President]was honored by Arkansas Valley water users Wednesday for his years of work on water and conservation issues….”

BuRec Notice Re: Gunnison River

May 25, 2008

Reclamation has received the May 15th runoff forecast from the Colorado  Basin River Forecast Center which predicts the April through July runoff  to Blue Mesa to be 40,000 ac-ft greater than previously estimated.  This brings the most probable April through July runoff into Blue Mesa to 1.1 million ac-ft which is 153% of average.

In addition, we have been gathering input from the public and resource agencies, including the State of Colorado, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and others, to determine the spring release operation for the Aspinall Unit. These discussions have resulted in a general operation plan comprised of the following goals:

Attempt to maximize flows of the Gunnison River at Whitewater with a goal of reaching 14,000 cfs by adding flow to the descending limb of the North Fork peak.

Provide a peak of at least 6,000 cfs in the Black Canyon below the Gunnison Tunnel.


Attempt to minimize flooding at Delta

Based on information received from the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center on May 15th, the North Fork is most likely to peak around May 21st. Reclamation’s attempt to match the descending limb of this peak will be dependent on the peak’s magnitude and duration, but ramping up could begin toward the middle or end of the week of May 18th, with high releases from Crystal continuing through the Memorial Day Weekend and a portion of the following week. These dates and flowrates are likely to change as runoff conditions fluctuate.  

Please refer questions to Dan Crabtree at 970-248-0652

Sportsmen meet in Wyo. to talk preservation of hunting land

May 23, 2008

Trout Unlimited spokesman Chris Hunt said Thursday that hunters and anglers don’t oppose energy development but they also don’t want to see their hunting and fishing grounds destroyed.

“If you’re a sportsman in Wyoming or in Colorado or in Utah or Montana or New Mexico, you’re watching as the places you hunt and fish are disappearing,” Hunt said. “And it’s a pretty simply equation, lost habitat equals lost opportunity.”


TU’s Western & Colorado Water Project Staff Notes

May 23, 2008

May 2008


We continue advocating for the state’s effort to map non-consumptive water needs: http://ibcc.state.co.us/Process/Needs/NeedsAssessment/NonConsumptiveNeedsAssessment/.


We presented new Conservation Success Index (CSI) mapping on Colorado River Cutthroat Trout restoration opportunities in light of energy development and climate change at Colorado TU Council Rendezvous: http://tucsi.spatialdynamics.com/.


We worked with National TU staff and others to improve a last minute addition to the Farm Bill that would have waived all existing state and federal laws for farmers building reservoirs to capture surface flows across their lands during “exceptional drought.” The provision still allows these farmers to get federal money to build such reservoirs, but it no longer waives all other legal requirements.


TU and the other parties to the Colorado water court proceedings to quantify the Black Canyon reserved water right are engaged in mediation. The court has stayed proceedings until June 6 to allow negotiations to continue. Simultaneously, we are urging the Bureau of Reclamation to take advantage of the above-average snow pack by making a large flushing flow release this spring: http://www.gjsentinel.com/search/content/news/opinion/stories/2008/05/04/050408_Peternell_col.html


We helped to draft legislation, HB1141, that would more closely tie land use development (growth) to sustainable water supplies. The bill created much debate, but passed the General Assembly and will be signed into law.


The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) has released its Environmental Impact Study (EIS) on Colorado Springs’ Southern Delivery System. We will work on preparation of comments on the EIS and will be discussing mitigation measures with BOR and Colorado Springs: http://www.sdseis.com/


The Wild & Scenic workgroup in the Colorado River is progressing rapidly – we’ve developed plans to identify flows needed to protect values, including fisheries in the Colorado; also identified a number of potential ways to protect flows. We also submitted comments to San Juan Forest Service/BLM management plan revision, mostly dealing with Wild & Scenic river issues: www.rivers.gov/


We continue to participate in the Shared Vision Planning process surrounding Halligan Seaman and the Water Initiative Steering Committee of the Colorado Climate Project. For now this simply means attending the periodic meeting. As time permits we are also sitting in on some of the EIS-based meetings surrounding the Chatfield Reservoir expansion.


Three of the four bills we proposed to strengthen the instream flow program have passed into law. The legislation funds, for the first time, the state’s instream flow acquisition program and removes any risk that leasing water rights to the state for instream flow would result in a loss of the water right. The one bill that did not survive the legislative session would have created a tax credit for donating water to the instream flow program: http://www.cotrout.org/Conservation/Legislation/tabid/86/Default.aspx


We submitted responsive pre-hearing statements for the Colorado basin river standards hearing (mostly dealing with temperature). We are primarily concerned that cutthroat trout and waters where cutthroats are expected to occur were adequately protected.


In the past month, we have given presentations to four TU chapters and to CTU leadership at CTU’s annual meeting. We also gave a presentation to ORVIS guides in Crested Butte – talked about state-wide water supply issues (SWSI, roundtables, etc.) and a bit about oil & gas noncompliance – suggested ways they can help/be involved (e.g., participate in roundtables, report violations in remote places, educate clients, etc.)

Dams ready to spill over

May 22, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

“We’re excited about the opportunity to improve the overall health of the river,” said Pat Oglesby of the Grand Valley Anglers Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers. “We’re also grateful for the cooperation of the Bureau of Reclamation.”