Misconceptions about oil and gas drilling in the West

March 22, 2010
Denver Post Guest Commentary
By Chris Wood, the president and chief executive officer of Trout Unlimited.

Recent reports show oil and gas drilling in 2009 was at an 18-year low. Before the fingers start pointing at Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar for putting a stranglehold on the oil and gas industry, let’s clarify that first statement: Oil and gas drilling in 2009 was at an 18-year low in Canada.

Innovative proposal will protect Dominguez waters

March 16, 2010

GJ Sentinel

Regarding the March 11 editorial by The Daily Sentinel, “Future may be clear for Dominguez waters:” Trout Unlimited applauds the Sentinel for supporting a balanced, innovative plan to meet the water needs of the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and Dominguez Canyons Wilderness Area.

Healthy wilderness rivers and streams require more than minimal flows. They also require larger “flushing” flows in the spring to ensure that natural stream processes and hydrology are maintained. In last year’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison settlement, for instance, all parties agreed on the need for flushing flows to mimic the flow variability that occurs under natural conditions

In the Dominguez case, the BLM plan is innovative in calling for the state to claim water rights to meet the flow needs of the federal wilderness area.  This arrangement allows Colorado to maintain control over the water resource while satisfying the purposes of the federal wilderness designation which, as the Sentinel points out, resulted from a constructive, cooperative effort

The Colorado Water Conservation Board should approve this plan to keep the Big and Little Dominguez creeks running wild

Drew Peternell, Director

Colorado Water Project

Trout Unlimited

West Slope questions Denver Water plan

March 10, 2010
By Bob Berwyn
Summit County Citizens Voice

Similar concerns were repeated by Erica Stock, an outreach coordinator with Colorado Trout Unlimited.The fisheries conservation group has specific ecological concerns related to lower flows, including warmer water that harms fish and higher concentrations of toxic metals. All those issues need to be addressed in the environmental study, she said.

“We need minimum flows, flushing flows, adaptive management and monitoring. If we see the river is starting to collapse, we need to stop doing what we’re doing,” she concluded.

Check out the TU action page on the project for more information on how to comment before the March 17 deadline.


Projects mean better floating, fishing

March 8, 2010


Three Trout Unlimited chapters and the Colorado Division of Wildlife headed the Trout Home Improvement project which provided strategically placed boulders where brown trout can rest from the strong current, feed and reproduce on their own to maintain the population naturally. Bushes and vegetation planted along the banks are vital for shade for the fish and also support insect life.

Sillox said Trout Unlimited members will be back this spring to conduct more plantings where some of the willows died. The members also helped with the informational signs that explain the benefits of the project.

 “Southern Colorado Greenback chapter paid for the three bases — about $1,000. Pueblo Community college’s student welding program constructed the bases,” Sillox said.The Canon City Recreation and Park District paid for the powder coating of the bases and installed them, while the Division of Wildlife paid for the informational panels recently installed on the bases.

“There was a whole bunch of different groups involved in the project and it is nice to see a lot of people involved,” Sillox said.


Ethics: Don’t fish spawning areas

March 6, 2010

By Karl Licis – Special to the Denver Post

With the annual spawning run of rainbow trout up the Dream Stream about to begin, anglers face a question of ethics: Is fishing for the spawners acceptable, and if so, how much fishing pressure can the resource withstand, despite the protection of catch- and-release regulations?

Alpine Triangle

March 5, 2010

Protection plan an intriguing proposal

Durango Herald

Ty Churchwell, who is leading the effort for Trout Unlimited, put it this way: “We want to form a coalition that includes counties and municipalities, watershed groups, sportsmen, private landowners, recreational-vehicle groups and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. They all have an interest in preserving our heritage and our economic viability.”

It is an ambitious goal and a worthy one. But by taking an inclusive approach, both with the supporters he wants to attract and by not neglecting any current users’ interest in the land, it may well be achievable.

For good reason, some things are banned in some places. True wilderness, for example, is incompatible with motorized traffic. But preserving the Alpine Triangle does not mean locking it away or curtailing its use by the public. Preservation in this context means just what its supporters say: Keep it like it is.

It is a goal that deserves support.


Plotting the Alpine Triangle

March 4, 2010

Trout Unlimited looks for support in protecting 126,000 acres in San Juans

by Dale Rodebaugh
Herald Staff Writer

A national river-conservation group is drumming up broad support for congressional protection of 126,000 acres in the San Juan Mountains where, a spokesman says, spectacular scenery, remnants of a rough-and-tumble past and recreational opportunities make the area a virtual paradise on Earth.

“The area is one of Colorado’s most unique off-road and backcountry resources,” said Ty Churchwell with the Five Rivers chapter of Trout Unlimited in Durango, who is heading the preservation campaign. “Our motto is ‘Keep It Like It Is.'”

The target area – anchored by the towns of Silverton, Ouray and Lake City – is called the Alpine Triangle, although the shape more resembles a polliwog, with a long tail heading northeast down the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River. This high-country terrain, Churchwell said, attracts 300,000 visitors annually who hunt and fish, admire towering peaks and wildflowers, explore 195 miles of four-wheel-drive roads, camp and backpack and visit old ghost towns and abandoned mines. The number of visitors doesn’t include those who arrive in Silverton by train, he said.

“We want to form a coalition that includes counties and municipalities, watershed groups, sportsmen, private landowners, recreational-vehicle groups and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad,” Churchwell said. “They all have an interest in conserving our heritage and our economic viability.”