Drilling sites garner little interest

May 24, 2010

Corey Fisher of Trout Unlimited said that might show there isn’t much interest in new energy development in North Park and that the industry believes the area is an exploration zone.

Despite the lack of interest, the parcels that sold are in sensitive trout habitat, he said.

One parcel straddles the North Platte River and one of its tributaries, while the others are near the headwaters of different tributary streams.

“Development on any of those leases could be problematic,” Fisher said, calling those streams “irreplaceable fisheries.”


BLM targets Alpine Triangle recreation plan

May 24, 2010
by Dale Rodebaugh
Herald Staff Writer

“We believe the BLM does a fabulous job of managing the Alpine Triangle, especially given its limited budget,” Ty Churchwell, with the Five Rivers chapter of Trout Unlimited, said Friday. “It does little to change the current management plan, while recognizing that the resource is under ever-increasing pressure from recreational users.”

Churchwell said the motto for the Trout Unlimited campaign is: Keep it like it is. He said his organization wants to give the BLM long-term direction on management and possibly funding.

The BLM can’t advocate for or endorse any particular legislative action, Churchwell said. The land is public and self-governance is the cornerstone of discussions.

“It’s up to citizens to direct the BLM as to how we’d like to see our public lands managed,” Churchwell said. “The (BLM) recreational plan is a good indicator of the beliefs of Alpine Triangle stakeholders and a tool we can use as we start discussions about the future of the area.”


Tour reveals river damage in Edwards

May 24, 2010

Sarah Mausolf
Vail Correspondent
Post Independent

The Eagle River Watershed Council and Trout Unlimited invited stakeholders on a rafting trip to tour the length of river where the $4 million restoration project is taking place.

About two thirds of the river restoration project is complete, said Melissa Macdonald, executive director of the watershed council. In 2008, workers added stones along the banks that pinch the water into a narrower, deeper channel. That helps keep fish healthy when the river is low. This stretch of the river gets wide and hot during low flow times, which is bad for fish, Macdonald said.

“The fish will either die or leave,” she said.

As houses and parking lots proliferated upstream, Ash said water that would normally soak into the ground instead flowed into the river. That runoff carried extra sediment downstream, depositing it in this stretch of the river.

That sediment caused the river to widen out, and clogged pebbles along the bottom that are an important habitat for the bugs that fish eat.

The restoration project has been fixing those areas to make them more friendly for trout.


Thompson Valley students spawn successful Trout in the Classroom program

May 14, 2010

By Carl McCutchen • Loveland Connection

Wednesday was a new day, a day to let go as the first year of the Trout in the Classroom program at Thompson Valley concluded.

Hewson and Carlson stood by Hunter as he prepared the fish for the move, as did wildlife biologist Dan Stubbs.

Even Sharon Lance, president of the Trout Unlimited Cutthroat Chapter, who sponsored the Trout in the Classroom project with the Division of Wildlife, was on hand to see the fish move on.

Lance said that because of the program’s success, Hewson and his students showed this year, she plans on launching five more Trout in the Classroom projects in the fall.


Plans to Open North Park for Drilling Fought

May 11, 2010
Kirk Siegler

Most springs, when the snow melt is furious, Bill Dvorak grabs his raft and tackle and heads to a wild and remote stretch of the North Platte River northeast of Steamboat Springs.

“It’s one of those rivers that I really love,” Dvorak says. “I’ve always described it as close as you can get to an Idaho river in Colorado.”

He leads outfitting trips that start at 9,000 feet, winding through the Northgate Canyon Wilderness Area, eventually spilling out into a sparsely developed basin known colloquially as North Park.

“It’s kind of like the Serengeti of Colorado,” Dvorak says. “There’s so many animals up in that North Park area, and it definitely deserves some sort of consideration before you would go in there and destroy some of that habitat.”

Dvorak is an organizer with the National Wildlife Federation, which along with Colorado Trout Unlimited and other groups have filed formal protests against Thursday’s lease auction. The auction includes about 11,000 acres in the North Park area. The groups worry roads and well pads necessary for oil and gas drilling will fragment habitat for wildlife such as the sage grouse, antelope and mule deer.


Interior Department opening Colorado’s North Park to gas and oil drilling

May 11, 2010

By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post

Over the protests of conservation groups, federal land managers are moving to open 11,160 acres of North Park for gas and oil drilling.

The valley between the Zirkel and Medicine Bow mountains sustains antelope, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, raptors, trout and sage grouse.

But the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management — despite recent vows to emphasize conservation — decided the nation’s need for domestic oil justified the decision to allow drilling in the North Park area.

Conservation groups protesting opening the North Park parcels for drilling include Colorado Trout Unlimited, the National Wildlife Federation, Western Resource Advocates, WildEarth Guardians, Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the Colorado Environmental Coalition.


Sportsmen object to hasty North Park oil and gas lease sale

May 3, 2010
Colorado Independent
By David O. Williams

“We’re not saying oil and gas development should be prohibited in North Park,” said Brad Powell, energy director for Trout Unlimited. “But we should let the planning process play out and ensure that proper protections are in place before making any long-term commitment to oil and gas development on these leases.”