CTU Annual Dinner & Gala: This Friday Night – April 3

March 30, 2009

Join Colorado’s “Angler in Chief” Governor Bill Ritter at the CTU Dinner & Gala for an evening of camaraderie, great food, live music (including Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet), lively auction bidding and a fantastic view of the mountains from the Grand Hyatt’s Pinnacle Club – 17th and Welton in Denver. Admission ($100) includes dinner and complimentary beer and wine. Click here for an auction item preview.

The auction is CTU’s most important fund raiser. You can play a key role in helping us Protect, Preserve and Restore Colorado’s Coldwater Fisheries and Their Watersheds.

Click here to purchase tickets

Colorado Department of Natural Resources: Solving Colorado’s future water supply needs

March 27, 2009
John Orr
Colorado Water Examiner


March 26, 11:03 AM

I caught up with Trout Unlimited’s Western Water Project Director, Melinda Kassen, via telephone last week to discuss the March 16th Interbasin Compact Commitee Meeting and the presentation (pdf) detailing progress on the visioning process for Colorado’s water needs that is being spearheaded by DNR Director Harris Sherman.

During the presentation, Kassen — the only committee member representing the environmental community and recreation — became alarmed by the Department of Natural Resources’ emphasis on transmountain diversions and four pipeline projects as the solution to the Front Range water supply gap.

How did the plan presented mesh with Governor Ritter’s, Colorado Promise, she asked herself? Where is conservation and reuse in the plan? What about the idea of smaller, incremental projects to satisfy future needs?


Proposal would kill, then restock fish in Long Draw

March 27, 2009


March 26, 2009

Federal officials are proposing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to poison invasive fish and then restock streams with native trout above Long Draw Reservoir and in parts of Rocky Mountain National Park as part of plans to keep the reservoir open.

The 10,800-acre-foot reservoir, about 50 miles up the Poudre Canyon, supplies water to Front Range cities, including Greeley and Thornton, and to Fort Collins-area farmers.

Trout Unlimited in 2004 sued the U.S. Forest Service, which permits the reservoir, to force changes. Trout Unlimited argued the reservoir was harming fish and other wildlife downstream.

In response, the Forest Service is proposing mitigation efforts known as Alternative 3 that include killing all fish in sections of area streams and creeks, then replacing them with the threatened greenback cutthroat trout.

The Forest Service released a draft environmental impact statement about a year ago and has now issued a final statement, with a formal decision expected within the next few months.


Congress passes wilderness bill; 2 West Slope canyons protected

March 27, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Years of work by western Coloradans finally paid off Wednesday when new protections for the Dominguez Canyon area cleared Congress.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 285-140 in favor of the sweeping Omnibus Public Lands Bill. It now heads to the desk of President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it.

It includes creation of the 210,000-acre Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area on the Uncompahgre Plateau. The area will include the 60,000-acre Dominguez Canyon Wilderness.

The measure also creates nearly 250,000 acres of wilderness within Rocky Mountain National Park.

The wilderness designations are the first in the state since 2002.

Chris Hunt of Trout Unlimited said 26 million acres nationally have conservation area status. The omnibus bill gives them permanent protection under law, rather than protection by order of presidential administrations, which can be reversed, Hunt said.


Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009

March 26, 2009

 by Chris Wood: Trout Unlimited Chief Operating Officer

TU Friends:

As you may have heard, yesterday the House of Representatives passed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (see tu.org for more info), a measure that would protect more than two million acres of wilderness in California, Oregon, West Virginia, Idaho, and elsewhere. It set aside 1.2 million acres of the Wyoming Range from new energy development—an area that provides vital habitat and fishing and hunting opportunities for mule deer, elk, and three of Wyoming’s four native trout. It creates the National Landscape Conservation System, a network of protected public lands managed by the BLM including the Gunnison Gorge, a phenomenal fishery in Colorado. In addition, the bill includes measures to end water disputes along the San Joaquin River in California, and to promote collaborative solutions to other water disputes. Many conservation organizations worked hard to make this day a reality. I’m particularly proud of TU’s role. Once President Obama signs this bill, it will serve as a validation of TU’s approach to conservation. A lot of land and water is protected by the Omnibus but this victory is less about land and water than it is people. People like Rick Murphree, Squeak Smith, Kirk Otey, Loren Albright and Duke Welter, TU Trustees who took the time to recently meet with Members of Congress to advocate for the bill’s passage. It’s about the 5000 TU members who wrote to their Members of Congress in key swing districts and states in recent weeks urging them to support passage of what may be the most important land conservation bill in 25 years. It’s about people like Bruce Elliston, Dan Beck, Dan Heinz, Jerry Becker, Sean McCormick, John Ross, Denis Morra, Mike Wilson, Brooke Gunsallus, Gary Amerine, Agust Gudmundsson, Tom Sadler, Terry Pollard, Walt Gasson, Dennis Schroeder, Bill Perkins, Duane Hyde, Drew Irby, Stan Griffin, Drew Irby, Jerry Becker, Jim Rogers, Robert Bittner, Jr., Randy Kesling, Chris Byrd, Don Garvin, and Larry Harris. These TU volunteers gave up days, in and some cases, weeks of their lives to protect some of the finest coldwater fish habitat and areas to hunt and fish on the planet. They came to Washington to put a face to the charge that sportsmen and women wanted to see this bill become law. And it’s about people like TU staff Tom Reed, Chris Hunt, Mike Beagle, Sara Tucker, Sam Davidson, Steve Moyer, Bryan Moore, Scott Stouder, Steve Kandell, Dave Glenn, Brad Powell, Greg McReynolds, Cathy Purves, Kathy Lynch, Corey Fisher, Laura Ziemer, Melinda Kassen, Chuck Bonham, Kendall Van Dyk, and Elizabeth Maclin. These are the people who in some cases helped to shape language for the bill. They negotiated complicated agreements with competing interests. They helped build support and divine the strategy to bring the bill to a vote. These people are members of the finest conservation staff in the country. But don’t take my word for it. Go fish or hunt in Idaho’s Owyhees, West Virginia’s Wild Mon, the eastern Sierras in California, Oregon’s Copper-Salmon, and form your own opinions about the value of their work. I’m certain I missed people to thank, if so, I apologize. But know this, there are a lot of organizations taking credit for the Omnibus getting through the Congress, and for many of them it is well-deserved. But few who deserve it more than the people mentioned above.

Thank you.

Rancher proposes water pipeline from Mo. to Colo.

March 26, 2009

Would tap Mississippi River to alleviate state’s increasing demands for water

[Durango] Herald Denver Bureau

The Gunnison rancher wants to build an 18-foot-wide water pipeline from the Mississippi River to a hill south of Denver and bring in enough water for millions more people. Read the story


Shell water rights opponents band together

March 26, 2009

By Brandon Gee (Contact) – Steamboat Pilot & Today

— Routt County, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District and the towns of Oak Creek and Yampa will pool their resources in opposing Shell Oil’s application to take 375 cubic feet of water per second from the Yampa River west of Craig. Read the full story