“Refresh” South Platte River

June 3, 2010

World Fishing Network

Denver’s Trout Unlimited chapter has embraced the Pepsi Refresh Project and has submitted their idea for “Refreshing” South Platte River.

This Pepsi program is helping organizations, groups and individuals do some good around their communities by supplying $1, 300, 000 in awards each month. At the beginning of the month “ideas” are submitted for each grant amount and the public is able to vote on the ones they would like to see succeed.

It is called the South Platte Project and their plans for restoring the river don’t stop with the clean up. This Trout Unlimited chapter plans on making an environment that will encourage children and youth to get out doors and fishing.

After the area has been cleaned up and all the mandatory adjustments like bank stabilization and low flow channels for boating have been made they plan on stocking the river and with the help of volunteers they will monitor the river’s improvement as well as working with the area’s young people.

The Denver chapter of Trout Unlimited began the research and planning of the South Platte Project in the spring of 2009 and in February of this year the project was approved and is now underway. They need the financial support being awarded by Pepsi to be successful. You can find out more and help by voting here.


Williams looks to help repair Clear Creek

October 21, 2009

By Charlie Meyers
The Denver Post

First, as a board member of West Denver Trout Unlimited, he [Miles Williams] served as director of the heralded Golden Mile project that breathed a $250,000 revival into the creek just upstream from the town of Golden. Work was completed last year.

Now he has taken the lead in a similar surge of fundraising for what will be the Courtney Riley Cooper Park in Idaho Springs.


Trout Unlimited to Consider Southern Delivery System at March Meeting

March 7, 2008

The potential recreational and environmental effects of the planned Southern Delivery System pipeline from Pueblo Dam to Colorado Springs will be the topic under discussion at the March 13 meeting of Trout Unlimited in Pueblo. Drew Peternell, Colorado Trout Unlimited’s lawyer and the Director of the Colorado Water Project, will address concerns about the pipeline as it is currently presented in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. See Southern Delivery System EIS.  This is an important meeting to the future of recreation on the AK River through Pueblo! Please attend, if at all possible!

 THURSDAY, March 13, 7:00 p.m.

 Jones-Healy Realty, 119 W. 6th, Pueblo

 Everyone welcome – FREE to the public.
Donate a raffle item to defray chapter expenses


December 2, 2007

Letters – Sunday
THE [Colorado Springs] GAZETTE
December 2, 2007 – 1:22AM

Bill would shield Samaritans from pollution liability

The Gazette’s Nov. 27 story about the Pennsylvania Mine made clear why Congress should pass a liability-shield law for “Good Samaritans” seeking to clean up toxic drainages polluting Colorado’s waters (“Water act discourages any would-be helpers”).

But I think the prospects for that happening are brighter than the story suggested.

Last month, with Rep. Steve Pearce, R.-N.M., I introduced H.R. 4011, the “Good Samaritan Cleanup of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act.” Based on bills I have introduced before, it would authorize the EPA to issue permits to shield Good Samaritans from Clean Water Act liability as they work on abandoned mines such as the Pennsylvania.

On Nov. 12, our bill was endorsed by the Western Governors Association. A letter signed by the governors of Arizona, New Mexico and South Dakota, as well as Gov. Bill Ritter, said the bill “will provide States and other possible Good Samaritans important Clean Water Act liability protections necessary to conduct voluntary cleanups.” I am hopeful the bill will be supported by the Bush administration and environmental groups as well.

This kind of Good Samaritan legislation has been one of my longstanding top priorities, and I intend to do all I can to win its enactment as soon as possible.

Rep. Mark Udall
Colorado District 2
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.

The native dilemma

November 14, 2007

Hermosa Creek cutthroat project mixes opinions

On the whole, Durango’s angling community is “divided” on the issue, according to Ty Churchwell, vice-president of the local Five Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited. http://www.durangotelegraph.com/telegraph.php?inc=/07-11-08/localnews.htm

by Will Sands

The push is on to go native in the headwaters of Hermosa Creek. The Colorado Division of Wildlife and San Juan National Forest are currently working to reverse the local decline of the native Colorado River cutthroat trout. However, the reintroduction effort, which focuses on the drainage’s headwaters, has also drawn mixed reviews.

The Colorado River cutthroat, the only trout species native to western Colorado, was abundant in rivers through the mid-1800s. At that time, human settlement arrived in the San Juan Mountains, and the fish were over-harvested. Early residents of the area recognized the need to restore the balance in the Animas, San Juan, Florida and Pine rivers, and they imported rainbow, brook and brown trout from outside the region and began stocking them in the area’s waterways. These fish, and particularly the brook trout, eventually outcompeted the native cutthroats, leading to the current situation. Only a few pockets of the original fish remain in the San Juans, and the cutthroats have been designated a Species of Special Concern by the DOW and a Sensitive Species by the Forest Service.

“When you have a combination of species, the brook trout typically outcompete the others,” explained Mike Japhet, senior aquatic biologist for the DOW. “If we did nothing, the entire upper Hermosa Creek area would be completely populated by brook trout in a number of years.”

The DOW is doing something in the upper Hermosa watershed, however. Faced with the threat of an “endangered” designation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency is continuing its efforts to bring the native fish back to the San Juan Mountains.

“This project is certainly one that is a high priority,” Japhet said. “The Forest Service and DOW have agreed that preventing the listing of this species as ‘endangered’ is a good thing to do. It’s a situation where an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

This ounce of prevention actually got under way in 1992 on the East Fork of Hermosa Creek. At that time, a hold-out population of pure Colorado River cutthroat trout was discovered in a remote stream within the Weminuche Wilderness. The DOW then identified that East Fork of Hermosa Creek, located near Purgatory, as an ideal stream to reintroduce the natives. More than a decade later, that population is now flourishing.

“The project on East Hermosa Creek is doing very well,” Japhet said. “It’s a very stable, very robust population of cutthroats up there.”

That 1992 discovery also led to the creation of a Weminuche strain of Colorado River cutthroat trout. Spawn taken from that original discovery has been used to establish a brood stock at the Durango fish hatchery. Since 2005, fingerlings from that stock have been seeded into remote streams and high-mountain lakes throughout the region. Now the DOW plans to stock the native fingerlings into another stretch of Hermosa Creek – 4 miles of the stream’s upper reaches above Hotel Draw.

Japhet explained that the upper Hermosa Creek drainage offers the DOW a unique opportunity to restore the natives in close proximity to the East Fork population. With the current project, the agency will reintroduce the fish into 4 miles of upper Hermosa Creek and 1 mile of Corral Creek. To accomplish this, the Forest Service recently built a five-foot waterfall barrier on the stream to isolate the new fish from other trout and potential predation.

Next summer, the stretches will be treated with rotenone, a short-lived botanical pesticide, to kill the existing, healthy population of mixed trout species. Widely used for the last 80 years, rotenone does not harm other species and breaks down completely within 48 hours. Thirty days after the application, the fingerlings will be introduced and special regulations will be implemented to protect the fledgling population.

Though the introduction is intended to be beneficial, it has drawn criticism and split the local flyfishing community. Some have criticized the DOW for destroying one population of fish to create another. Another group of anglers has said that the project will harm their ability to fish on a favorite stretch of water.

On the whole, Durango’s angling community is “divided” on the issue, according to Ty Churchwell, vice-president of the local Five Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

“We can’t even come up with a uniform opinion about the project amongst our board,” he said. “We took a straw poll at our last meeting, and we don’t have strong consensus in one direction or another and can’t make a formal statement about the reintroduction.”

However, for his part, Churchwell strongly advocates the reintroduction and restoring a local section of stream to the conditions of 125 years ago. “My personal opinion is that I am all for it,” he said. “I’d like to see things restored to native genetics as closely as possible. This is a section that the public will be able to drive to, fish and catch a cutthroat trout that is as genetically pure as possible.”

Churchwell and Japhet also disputed the claims that the reintroduction will damage the Durango fishing experience. They noted that local anglers have hundreds of miles of stream at their disposal and can readily fish the 23-mile stretch of lower Hermosa Creek as well as countless other similar streams.

“There are so many people who love to fish up there, and they don’t care what kind of trout they catch,” Churchwell said. “But there are also hundreds of miles of stream just like that in the San Juans, and we’re talking about reintroducing natives on one little section.”

Japhet added that the project is about reestablishing the viability of an animal species. He asked that anglers endure a temporary disruption in recreation to help accomplish a greater goal.

“We’re certainly sensitive to the fact that people are concerned about impacts to their recreational fishing,” he said. “But we feel like the short-term disruption will be far outweighed by the benefits of enhancing the habitat and creating a new area for people to fish for these natives. When you restore a native species, it’s a win-win for everyone.” •

Gunnison River diversion successfully installed

September 12, 2007

Another partner in the project was the Gunnison Angling Society, a chapter of Trout Unlimited. Spokesman Mern Judson said the chapter has worked for 10 years to get the old dam replaced and even though the work was scheduled during the chapter’s annual Superfly fundraiser, there was no question the work had to be done.


By DAVE BUCHANAN The Daily Sentinel

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

GUNNISON – An irrigation diversion on the Gunnison River that promises to be fish-, boater- and irrigator-friendly was completed last week after a decade of wrangling among concerned parties.

The new structure, actually three separate smaller dams, was designed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife to replace an earth-and-rock diversion that effectively blocked upstream fish passage during low water and also posed some hazards to boaters.

With Pagosa Springs-based stream rehabilitation contractor Dale Hockett of Elk Ridge Construction doing most of the heavy lifting and with water flow cooperation from the Bureau of Reclamation and the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users, the project was completed inside four days and within the $50,000 budget, said DOW aquatic biologist Dan Brauch.

“I’m very happy with the way it turned out,” Brauch said. “From our initial design we put something together that would meet all the purposes of what we are trying to achieve in the project, which included easing kokanee passage upstream and improved boating safety downsteam.”

Also vital was maintaining water availability for irrigators and Brauch said the new structure, built largely from large boulders donated by the Colorado Division of Highways from one of its projects near Gunnison, will not only provide water to ditches but also not need the annual maintenance the older dam required.

“The design met all those objectives and then Dale came in and did some slight modifications on-site to make it better,” Brauch said. “We ended up with a much more natural-looking structure.”

Hockett has worked extensively with stream-rehabilitation guru Dave Rosgen and does most of Rosgen’s projects, Brauch said.

Hockett “is great at placing rocks and knows how they need to be built for stability,” Brauch said.

That talent is critical, since the new diversion is built to be inundated during spring runoff without washing away, as the old structure did each year.

“Most of the structure will disappear during high water, the only part you’ll see is right off the bank,” Brauch said. “It’s going to be more efficient than the old structure.”

Another partner in the project was the Gunnison Angling Society, a chapter of Trout Unlimited. Spokesman Mern Judson said the chapter has worked for 10 years to get the old dam replaced and even though the work was scheduled during the chapter’s annual Superfly fundraiser, there was no question the work had to be done.

“They were nice enough to call me and ask if we wanted to postpone the work since it meant lowering the water level in the Taylor River,” Judson said. “But I said, ‘Heck no, we’ve worked 10 years to get this done.’ ”

The work earlier had to be postponed because of high water levels. The Uncompahgre Valley water users and the Burec agreed to lower flows in the Taylor by 75 cubic feet per second to assist the construction.

Also helping in the project was Ray Trucking of Gunnison and a grant from the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District paid $25,000 toward the work.

“Without their help this would not have happened,” Brauch said.

The DOW paid another $20,000 with the remainder coming from water users

CTU Leads Great Colorado Rivers Cleanup Sept. 15

September 10, 2007


BOULDER, Colo. – Sept. 6, 2007 – Colorado Trout Unlimited (CTU), a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Colorado’s coldwater fisheries, will lead the fourth annual Great Colorado Rivers Cleanup on Saturday, September 15, to remove trash and debris from river banks and channels throughout the state. CTU members and volunteers will scour designated river stretches near Aspen, Basalt, Boulder, Buena Vista, Carbondale, Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Evergreen, Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs, Idaho Springs, Granby, Leadville, Lyons, Pueblo, Silverthorne, Salida and Winter Park to remove trash and elevate the health of Colorado’s water sources.

“We rely on Colorado’s clean water supply everyday – it is one of our most precious natural resources,” said David Nickum, executive director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. “It is vital for people to work together to keep Colorado’s rivers clean. The Great Colorado Rivers Cleanup is a way for people in the community to get involved and make a difference. By picking up trash along the rivers, volunteers can help restore and protect the water sources we use everyday.”

The majority of the Great Colorado Rivers Cleanup events are planned for the morning of Saturday, September 15, with a few events taking place on September 8, September 29 and October 13. With most of the cleanup efforts on a single day, CTU hopes to attract hundreds of volunteers for a large-scale, coordinated cleanup effort. CTU plans the Great Colorado Rivers Cleanup for the fall season because river flow is generally lower, making access to the rivers and cleanup efforts easier and safer.

“Last year, the Great Colorado Rivers Cleanup attracted hundreds of volunteers,” said Nickum. “We have no doubt that this year will be an even bigger success. We encourage people to find the event in their local community and get involved.”

Fifteen CTU chapters across the state will host cleanup events on 13 Colorado river stretches, including: Animas River, Arkansas River from Leadville through Salida, Arkansas River near Pueblo, Bear Creek, Blue River, Boulder Creek, Cache la Poudre, Clear Creek, Roaring Fork River (in cooperation with Roaring Fork Conservancy), South Platte near Elevenmile Canyon, South Platte in Denver (in partnership with the Greenway Foundation), St. Vrain River and the Upper Colorado River. For more information about the Great Colorado Rivers Cleanup or Colorado Trout Unlimited, visit www.cotrout.org.

About Colorado Trout Unlimited

Colorado Trout Unlimited is dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Colorado’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. The statewide organization has nearly 10,000 members and is part of the national Trout Unlimited organization. Colorado Trout Unlimited fulfills its mission through advocacy and education efforts regarding the impact of drought and pollution on water-based ecosystems, and by engaging volunteers in hands-on projects to improve and rehabilitate Colorado’s river systems. For more information about Colorado Trout Unlimited, visit www.cotrout.org.