Sportsmen for the Roan Plateau
A New Lease on Life for the Roan
The Roan Plateau near Rifle, Colorado is one of the state’s true gems – a scenic backcountry area supporting some of Colorado’s best big game habitat and important native trout streams. Remarkably, the native cutthroat trout on the Roan Plateau have a unique local adaptation, the ability to withstand warmer water temperatures than most other cutthroats.
Under a recent settlement agreement between conservationists, BLM, and energy lessees, these outstanding values will remain protected for future generations while coexisting with responsible development of natural gas.
But we’re not across the finish line yet; we need to make sure the BLM embraces the balanced solution negotiated by sportsmen, conservationists and energy companies and adopts the settlement alternative.
The Roan Deserves Common Sense Protection
It’s one of America’s “Best Wild Places”
A hunters’ and anglers’ refuge, the Roan is home to huge herds of Mule Deer and Elk, native trout streams designated as Colorado Outstanding Waters, and one of Colorado’s most biologically diverse areas. The Roan’s exceptional fish and wildlife values led Field & Stream magazine to select it as one of America’s “Best Wild Places”.
It’s the beating heart for wildlife in central western Colorado
As an island of quality habitat in the vast sea of energy development taking place throughout the Piecance basin, the Roan Plateau is a critical part of what was once dubbed Colorado’s “mule deer factory” Without this negotiated settlement, many of the secure areas wildlife need to rear young and maintain strong numbers would be lost.
The Settlement Agreement works for everyone
Under the settlement agreement announced in November 2014, much of the most valuable habitat atop the Plateau saw leases cancelled and refunded, while terms were agreed upon for responsibly developing the remaining leases on Anvil Ridge and at the Roan’s base. This ensures the conservation of sensitive areas like migration corridors and important trout streams while allowing energy companies to access the valuable resources beneath the Roan.
We’re in it for the Long Haul
Trout Unlimited is no “Johnny-come-lately” when it comes to protecting the important resource values of the Roan Plateau. The Grand Valley TU Chapter has been engaged in on-the-ground efforts to protect and restore habitat atop the Roan since the early 1990s, constructing fence to keep cattle off of important stream reaches, installing in-stream habitat features, planting riparian vegetation, and monitoring water quality.
TU and its members continue to work on-the-ground to help protect and enhance the Roan. In 2015, we anticipate partnering with Colorado Parks and Wildlife as they reintroduce native cutthroat upstream of a fish barrier that TU built on the East Fork of Parachute Creek, as well as continuing to help with noxious weed removal in key riparian areas.
Over the past 50 years, TU has earned a reputation for balanced advocacy based on sound science and successful restoration projects built with the sweat equity of a hundred thousand volunteers. Protecting and restoring the places we fish and hunt is why we exist as an organization. In the case of the Roan, now more than ever, it looks like our efforts can succeed.