Diverting the Colorado: 2 projects with Boulder County ties to bring more water to Front Range

July 11, 2011
By Laura Snider, Camera Staff Writer

“Both of these (water utilities) wrote an environmental statement that said there would be no impacts,” said Klancke, who also serves as the president of the Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited. “But the third-grade class at Fraser Elementary can tell you what happens when you take 80 percent of a river.”

Despite the fact that the two mitigation plans unanimously were approved by the Wildlife Commission, some environmental groups argue that they don’t go far enough to protect the Colorado River headwaters.

Mely Whiting, senior attorney with Trout Unlimited’s Colorado Water Project, said the plans don’t adequately address stream temperature problems and flushing flows. When the mountain snowpack begins to melt in the late spring and early summer, the influx of water “flushes” the rivers, scraping sediment off the streambed and, in some years, overflowing the banks and recharging adjacent wetlands.

Because both of the new projects plan to draw water during the periods of high runoff, Whiting said the rivers are being robbed of the critical flush. When flows stay low throughout the summer, the sediment builds up on the bottom of the rivers and destroys the habitat used by aquatic insects. The low flows also increase the danger that stream temperatures will climb higher earlier in the summer.


Kirk Klancke: Saving Grand County’s rivers

July 5, 2011
Sky-Hi News
By Kirk Klancke
Guest opinion

While we have had reasons for optimism recently in the battle to save our rivers, we have also recently received a hard blow from the Colorado Wildlife Commission.

On June 9, the Commission voted to approve the mitigation plans for Denver Water’s (Moffat Firming) and Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District’s (Windy Gap Firming) diversion projects despite comments from commissioners who felt that way too little mitigation is being offered.

The support for these mitigation plans is a statement from the Wildlife Commission that this should be the state’s official position on these projects. Thanks to the enthusiasm of Grand County residents to save our rivers, this decision was made with stacks of written comment on the commissioners’ table and several Grand County residents at the meeting speaking on behalf of the Fraser and Upper Colorado rivers.

It was very apparent at the June 9 meeting that politics, not science, is being used to decide the fate of these rivers.


Denver fires up anglers with, yes, carp

April 20, 2011

By Scott Willoughby
The Denver Post

If you tried, you couldn’t come up with a sorrier-looking puss to put on a poster than a carp.

And, oh, has it been tried.

“It’s the classic ‘lemonade’ story,” Denver Trout Unlimited chapter president Todd Fehr said of the “lemons” that dominate Denver’s hometown fishery along the South Platte River. “The Pro-Am Carp Slam started because that’s what we had to work with. And the thing is just quirky enough to have taken off.”

The irony of using the lowly regarded carp to promote and preserve the would-be habitat of the regal trout is not lost on Fehr. But after years of frustration over the lack of a productive local trout fishery in metro Denver, DTU member Tim Emery suggested in 2007 that the group might try to take advantage of the abundant bugle-mouthed fish that reside in the neighborhood.

Read more: Denver fires up anglers with, yes, carp – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/outdoors/ci_17885629#ixzz1K4lw1uf2

Trout Unlimited more than a social club

April 20, 2011
Tri Lakes Tribune
By Norma Engelberg

A lot of people think Trout Unlimited is just a social club dedicated to fly fishing. Erik Heikkenen, president of the Cheyenne Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited, says the organization is much more.

“We do love to fly fish but for the last 25 years we have worked on numerous watershed conservation and restoration projects,” he said. “We’ve concentrated most of our work on the South Platte in Eleven Mile Canyon on the Trees for Trout project. We use trees taken from the Hayman Fire burn area and use them to stabilize the banks. Some of the timbers are placed in the stream bed to provide more trout habitat.”

The first project for the local Trout Unlimited chapter was work on Trout Creek north of Woodland Park in 1986.

“Grazing cattle had destroyed the banks and we did a lot of work restoring them,” Heikkenen said. “Later the beaver moved in and undid some of our work but much of it is still there.”

The organization has also worked with the Fountain Creek Restoration Committee to restore the creek banks in Manitou Springs.“We’ve restored the creek from Soda Springs Park to Memorial Park,” Heikkenen said. “We’ll finish up at Mansion and Fields parks.”In the last few years, Trout Unlimited’s Trout in the Classroom program has also been very popular. Trout Unlimited provides large aquariums, training and trout eggs and students see what it takes for trout to go from eggs to fry to releasing size.

Thanks to Coyote Gulch for the link!

Trout Unlimited eyes Arkansas River restoration

April 5, 2011
Summit Voice
by Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Trout Unlimited this week awarded a $4,500  Embrace-A-Stream grant to its Collegiate Peaks chapter in the Upper Arkansas River Valley. The chapter, based in Salida and Buena Vista, proposes to conduct assessment and stakeholders meetings for the South Arkansas River to create a plan for conservation and restoration of the entire river corridor.

This plan would act as the blueprint for future work conducted by the Collegiate Peaks Anglers Chapter and the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas by identifying projects that would improve fish habitat, stabilize banks, remove obstacles, restore native vegetation, and reduce negative impacts into the system. Many of these future projects would be in partnership with private landowners and utilize community volunteers.


Moving water the right way creates aquatic playground

December 22, 2010

Reed Dils continues quest for recreational water availability

Pueblo Chieftain

As dams have changed flows on the Arkansas River, recreation has become a substantial industry.

 For Reed Dils, it’s more like a cause.

Dils, now a member of Trout Unlimited, is also a member of the Southeastern board and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. He also represents recreation uses of water on the Arkansas Basin Roundtable.

Just talking about the issues is a step down the road to solutions.


Colorado Water Projects Prompt Calls for River Protection

December 14, 2010
Kirk Siegler

HOT SULPHER SPRINGS, CO (KUNC) – About thirty million westerners depend on the Colorado River and its tributaries for survival. In Colorado, much of the famed river’s water is diverted and then channeled up and over the mountains to the dry, eastern plains of the Front Range where most Coloradans live. Now, two powerful water agencies along the Front Range are proposing to take even more water that they are legally entitled to – but not currently able to use. As KUNC’s Kirk Siegler reports below, it’s setting the stage for another battle.

A ‘Train Wreck’

A few miles away from the headwaters of one of the most altered waterways in the world, the Colorado River looks more like a stream as it runs through the sleepy little town of Hot Sulpher Springs.

Over time, water projects have reduced flows on this river so much that the big, iconic cottonwoods aren’t growing back as quickly because most of the water that used to come in the spring floods doesn’t get here anymore. It’s captured upstream and sent over the Continental Divide to Denver and the Front Range. Less water in the summer also means warmer temperatures and algae.

It’s hard to notice all of this, now in frigid December, as Kirk Klanke walks over crusty snow on his way down to the river’s banks.

“There’s a tremendous amount of algae that we’re not seeing because of the ice buildup,” he says. “But if we tried walking across there, we’d understand how much rock snot’ is growing on those rocks.”

Klanke, president of the local chapter of Trout Unlimited, says lower flows are good for algae but bad news for fish, and the local recreation-based economy.

“Colorado’s in a train wreck, if we don’t wake up to the fact that this natural environment is threatened,” Klanke says.