User fees divide OHV riders

November 6, 2009
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Proponents are asking Colorado State Parks to adopt a new formula for the distribution of OHV user fees, which riders pay to the state when they register their vehicles. The proposal asks that 40 percent of the $3.1 million available from user fees be used for enforcement of OHV laws, and that an additional 30 percent be used for additional signs that tell riders where they can and cannot legally ride.

“There is a desperate need for funding law enforcement,” said Aaron Clark, spokesman for the Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance.

Clark said funding of enforcement of OHV riders is left to counties.

“We need to restore the damage and close the illegal routes and enforce those (closings), so we don’t have more damage,” Clark said. “This is a reasonable way to help pay for it.”

The proposal is supported by organizations such as Responsible Trails America, the Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance, Trout Unlimited and the Colorado Wildlife Federation.

Trout Unlimited: Upper Colorado ‘on the brink’

November 2, 2009
By Bob Berwyn
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY — Increased diversions from the Fraser River, in Grand County, could put the entire Upper Colorado ecosystem at risk, a coalition of environmental groups warned Friday.

“We’re really nervous. The rivers are only so resilient,” said David Nickum, director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. “You can’t talk about these systems in isolation,” he said, referring to a Denver Water proposal to take more water out of the Fraser River and across the Continental Divide.

“Multiple water diversions have pushed the Fraser River to the brink of collapse,” said Kirk Klancke, president of the Colorado Headwaters Chapter of TU, based in Grand County. “This is a river on life support.”

Nickum and Klancke were referring to a draft environmental study on the Fraser River project. The conservation groups said they’ve already been talking with Denver Water, and that the utility is open to discussing the issues. The draft study was released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday.

Upper Colorado River an ‘Ecosystem on the Brink,’ says Trout Unlimited

November 2, 2009

Ski-Hi Daily News

“We have already met with Denver Water’s staff, and they seem open to discussing some of these concepts,” said Mely Whiting, Legal Counsel for Trout Unlimited’s Colorado Water Project. “We hope the Denver Water Board seizes this opportunity to create a legacy, where water development and environmental protections can go hand in hand.”

 “Front Range residents must recognize the connection between our water use and the health of our rivers and streams, fisheries and wildlife habitat,” said David Nickum, executive director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. “We can’t continue to take and take from these rivers without accounting for our impacts. The glass is not even half full—it’s almost drained dry.”

Maybe it`s something in the water….

October 16, 2009

By Juley Harvey Trail-Gazette

The Supreme Court`s rulings in 2001 and 2006 narrowed protection to only “navigable waters,” leaving wetlands, ponds waterfowl habitats and the intermittent creeks and streams that run throughout Colorado`s mountains open to the jeopardy of pollution. Wildlife organizations say that more than 76,000 miles of Colorado streams (73 percent of the state`s waterways) are at risk because of the looser law.

“Headwater streams, especially the intermittent and ephemeral streams that are dry for parts of the year, are the ‘Rodney Dangerfields` of the water resource world: they don`t get enough respect,” Steve Moyer, vice president for government affairs for Trout Unlimited, said. “Yet the best science we have tells us how extremely valuable headwater streams are for drinking water, water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. If the Clean Water Act`s visionary goals are ever to be achieved, Congress must restore protection for these critical resources.”

Udall bill would help clean up mines

October 15, 2009


Elizabeth Russell, who works on Kerber Creek and other mine cleanup projects for Trout Unlimited, said the legislation also would likely free up funding from government agencies and other organizations who might have shied away from doing so because of the liability concern.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” she said.

The bill, titled the “Good Samaritan Cleanup of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act” is in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Bill by Sen. Mark Udall facilitates cleanup of old mines by citizen groups

October 15, 2009

By Michael Riley
The Denver Post

Udall’s bill would streamline the permitting process for groups who otherwise would have to obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act to clean up an old mine — a process that can sometimes take years — while also shielding those groups from liability for not completing the job to exacting federal standards.

While the idea is supported by groups such as Trout Unlimited, it is opposed by some major environmental groups that believe it would make the Clean Water Act a target for lawmakers who want to weaken the landmark legislation.

“There are some groups that are of the opinion that we can’t touch the Clean Water Act because if we do, by God, it will be eviscerated in the Congress. I think that is a playing-not-to- lose offense,” according to Chris Wood, chief operating officer of Trout Unlimited.

Udall introduces new ‘Good Samaritan’ water clean-up legislation

October 15, 2009
Colorado Independent
By Katie Redding

Calling past opposition a “spirited debate in the environmental community about the best way forward,” Udall pointed to two environmental groups who have already agreed to support the new bill: Trout Unlimited and Earthworks.

Trout Unlimited Chief Operating Officer Chris Wood released a statement in support of the bill, pointing to EPA data indicating that abandoned hardrock mines contaminate 40 percent of Western streams.