CTU Recognizes Outstanding Contributions to Trout Conservation

Pictured: Awardee Kevin Rogers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist and researcher.

Pictured: Awardee Kevin Rogers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist and researcher.

At the annual Rendezvous at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colorado TU presented its annual awards recognizing volunteers, chapters, and partners who have made exemplary contributions to TU and trout conservation in Colorado.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist and researcher Kevin Rogers received the Trout Conservation Award. Kevin is a long-time native species researcher and has been an instrumental part of native cutthroat trout restoration efforts and developing and understanding the underlying science – including the new insights that have been gained about the different genetic lineages of cutthroat that guide restoration efforts statewide now. For years, Kevin has provided the scientific and moral leadership that guides cutthroat conservation and recovery statewide.

Black Canyon Anglers were honored as the Exemplary Guide & Outfitter for 2019. Black Canyon Anglers has been a long-time financial support of Trout Unlimited’s conservation efforts, including multiple years of providing a statewide raffle prize that has generated tens of thousands of dollars in proceeds. Additionally they have been active participants and provided logistical support for conservation efforts in the Gunnison Gorge including programs to help re-establish rainbow trout populations in the face of whirling disease.

Anglers All being presented with the Exemplary Industry Partner award from CTU.

Anglers All being presented with the Exemplary Industry Partner award from CTU.

Anglers All was recognized as the Exemplary Industry Partner. Through direct support and special events including their annual Trout Clave, Anglers All has generated thousands of dollars to support trout conservation in Colorado. Additionally they have been active partners on restoration and river cleanup efforts along the Denver South Platte.

Colorado TU presented two Distinguished Service Awards this year. The first went to volunteer leader Peter King with the Cutthroat Chapter for his successful efforts to link Trout Unlimited with new corporate funding partners, opening doors for support for youth education efforts from notable companies including Anadarko Petroleum and Conoco Phillips. The second went to Patrick, Miller and Noto LLC, a Carbondale based law firm that provided pro bono legal assistance to Colorado TU and American Rivers in the successful effort to eliminate the threat of Aspen-owned dams being build on Maroon and Castle Creeks including in the Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness.

Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter received the Exemplary Chapter award (middle right) as well as the Outstanding Volunteer award going to member Phil Wright. (middle left)

Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter received the Exemplary Chapter award (middle right) as well as the Outstanding Volunteer award going to member Phil Wright. (middle left)

The Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter (Ft Collins/Loveland/Greeley) was recognized as this year’s Exemplary Chapter. The Chapter was recognized for its strong community engagement programs around the Cache la Poudre River, its leadership with the ambitious Poudre Headwaters Restoration Project to restore greenback cutthroat trout through nearly 40 miles of headwater streams, and its strong youth education efforts including an annual youth day camp.

The Exemplary Youth Education Award was presented to the Collegiate Peaks Anglers for their partnership with the Greater Arkansas River Nature Center on the new South

Arkansas Ecological Learning Center and their model “Stream Explorers” program for youth education in the Salida area.

The John Connolly Outstanding Chapter Communications Award was presented to the Five Rivers Chapter. The chapter was recognized for its newly revamped website, social media, and email communication efforts including partnership efforts with local fly fishing and women’s groups to help broaden their reach in the Durango community.

DSC_0675edit.jpg

Two chapters were recognized with the Exemplary Project Award. First, the Gunnison Angling Society was honored for its Adopt-a-Trout project, which combined STEM-based youth education while providing data that helped establish the foundation for new water leasing programs with agricultural producers in the valley and helped build stronger relationships among diverse local partners. Additionally, the Denver Chapter was honored for its “Long Underwater Non-Kinetic Embankment Replacement” structures (“LUNKER” structures) that provide shelter for aquatic life from current and predation, mimicking the natural habitat of an undercut bank in the highly modified Denver South Platte where natural undercut banks no longer exist.

Taila Oulton receiving an Outstanding Volunteer award for her work with the Colorado TU Youth Camp.

Taila Oulton receiving an Outstanding Volunteer award for her work with the Colorado TU Youth Camp.

Finally, Colorado TU recognized five Outstanding Volunteers from various chapters across the state. Keith Krebs was recognized for his work with the Collegiate Peaks chapter in advancing the Ecological Learning Center as well as overall chapter leadership. Taila Oulton was honored for her seven years of participation as a counselor with the Colorado TU Youth Camp – as a former camper and young adult, Taila has not only shared her significant fly fishing knowledge but been a relatable role model for younger campers. Barbara Plake was honored for her work in launching and growing the Collegiate Peaks chapter’s “Fly Gals” program from 5 to more than 100 participants as well as managing the chapter scholarship program and Caddis Festival banquet. Dan Sullivan was recognized for leadership with the West Denver Chapter and in particular for his work in improving chapter communications and helping to expand participation in chapter events and volunteer projects. Phil Wright from the Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter was recognized for his work with native trout conservation efforts in the Poudre watershed including stream temperature monitoring of potential recovery habitats, assisting agency biologists with field work in preparation for restoration the Poudre headwaters, and developing community outreach efforts around the recovery project.

A hearty congratulations to all of our 2019 award winners – with deep thanks for all they have done to benefit Trout Unlimited and coldwater conservation.

STREAM Girls in Colorado

DSCN7219.JPG
I want to tell you thank you for organizing this incredible event! My husband was very impressed, he wants to take our Brownie daughter when she has the age to attend. Her leader said it was the best event she has ever had, so well organized she said and Alison had so much fun and learned a lot!! She wrote a lot in her notebook, you should read it, like a real science girl.

On April 13th and May 11th of this year, CTU and Girl Scouts hosted the first ever STREAM Girls events in Colorado. There was a northern and southern event in the Denver Metro area and we had 30 girl scouts total to participate and 24 men and women as volunteers. Both events turned out to be a great success. Parents expressed to us that this type of program does not come around often and that they are very grateful to TU and Girl Scouts of America for bringing it to Colorado.

What is STREAM Girls?

STREAM Girls is an outdoor watershed experience that employs STEM-education (science, technology, engineering, math) plus recreation and arts to explore a local stream. By visiting a local stream and having the opportunity to observe it as scientists, anglers, and artists, Girl Scouts in the 4th through 8th grade (juniors and cadettes) will get the complete picture of what their stream could mean to them. Over the course of multiple sessions, Girl Scouts observe a stream, collect flow data, sample macro-invertebrates (aka aquatic bugs), tie flies, and learn fly casting.

See the Program in action

Thank yous

Thank you to our volunteers who participated in the training and offered their time to help run the program. Our volunteers consisted of TU members, lifetime Girl Scouts, Colorado Women Flyfishers, Women in oil and gas, and women working in STEM. We look forward to future STREAM Girls events across Colorado. Thank you to Girls Scouts of Colorado for partnering with us on this program!

List of Volunteers involved
Liz Andrews
Amanda Bower
Celina Will
Suzanne Faerber
Kim Parsons
Steve Scholz
Cyndy Scholz
Rachel Therkildsen
Emily Therkildsen
Margot Iwanchuk
Jenna Merritt
Nina Preston
Karen Williams
Barbara Sheedlo
Lauren Hillmer
Denise Thelen
Kathleen McDonald
Mark Rayman

A special shout out to CTU’s VISTA Youth Coordinator, Bianca McGrath-Martinez and CTU’s Headwaters Chair, Barbara Luneau who together made this event possible.

Thank you to Denver Water for offering use of their space at the Kassler Center for our May 11 event.

Sponsor

Colorado Trout Unlimited is extremely grateful for Anadarko Petroleum’s support of STREAM Girls in Colorado


2019 Annual CTU Rendezvous Recap

Rendezvous Booklet 8.5x5.5 Final Draft.jpg
Fly Fishing Film Tour Showing at the Hotel Colorado during Rendezvous 2019.

Fly Fishing Film Tour Showing at the Hotel Colorado during Rendezvous 2019.

The 2019 Annual CTU Rendezvous was our biggest conference yet!  Held April 26-28 in Glenwood Springs, CO, the Rendezvous brought TU leaders, anglers, conservation professionals, agency staff, and non-profit partners together for a weekend of training and fun.  Topics included: drought, climate change, the state of Colorado’s fisheries, youth education, aquatic nuisance species, chapter development, membership engagement, stream management planning, and more! In addition to the workshops, participants also enjoyed a special screening of the Fly Fishing Film Tour, kicked off by Doug Dragoo of Mayfly Outdoors, and the CTU Awards Banquet, with DNR Director Dan Gibbs providing an excellent keynote address. 

We want to thank all of the attendees, speakers, auction donors, and sponsors who made this year’s Rendezvous a huge success.  A special shout out goes to our Title Sponsor, Sawyer Paddles and Oars, who has recently launched a new slate of TU-logoed product that helps raise money for TU projects around the country!

What a great view from the Hotel Colorado that overlooks Glenwood Springs!

What a great view from the Hotel Colorado that overlooks Glenwood Springs!

You can check out all of the Rendezvous highlights and access the conference materials by visiting http://coloradotu.org/rendezvous




A Good Year for Trout at the Capitol

1280px-CO_State_Capitol_dusk.jpg

Legislative Recap

By Jen Boulton, CTU Legislative Liaison

The 2019 session was one of the most intense in recent years. There was some Washington DC level obstruction on numerous bills; which led to some very long days, and even longer nights. After the dust settled, however, the conservation community achieved some remarkable successes.

One of the highest priorities for CTU was HB1113 to revamp some of the hard rock mining laws in the state. Most notably, the bill prohibited reliance on perpetual water treatment for newly permitted mines. Under the previously existing law, companies could apply for permits knowing that perpetual mine drainage pollution would result from their activities. In fact, the policy of the State of Colorado hasn’t allowed the practice for several years; but with passage of HB1113, the practice is prohibited by law so our streams and rivers are less reliant on the policies of a single department. HB1113 also prohibited the use of “self-bonding” for recovery on mining sites. Self bonding allowed companies to claim that a healthy corporate balance sheet negated the need to post bonds in order to ensure sufficient resources for reclamation. Lastly, the bill gave specific authority to State regulators to require bonds to protect water quality, rather than solely for surface reclamation. Put together, these provisions will help ensure that future mining operations are required to operate responsibly and in a manner that adequately restores the environments where mining takes place.

Another key measure was passage of the oil and gas regulation bill. One of the biggest obstacles to updating regulations on the oil and gas industry to protect streams and rivers has been the statutory provision that the agency responsible for regulation has also been required to foster development of oil and gas resources. That dual mission has led to significant difficulties in protecting water quality, as well as public health and safety. There has been a tremendous amount of misinformation circulated about this bill. It was absolutely not a resurrection of the 2018 ballot measure on setbacks – a measure that Colorado TU did not support. In fact, the word setback wasn’t even in the bill.

The bill actually addressed two major issues, and several smaller issues to streamline the process and improve transparency. First it removed the requirement that the State foster development. Instead, it made the regulatory agency responsible solely for regulating the industry. Second, the bill gave increased authority to local governments to regulate the siting of facilities in accordance with their land use policy. This provision was one of the most contentious. Industry claimed that the resulting patchwork of regulations would make development prohibitively expensive. Ironically, the bill merely put the oil and gas industry on the same footing with all other commercial and residential development, which was already subject to regulation and permitting by each local jurisdiction in the State.

On a more disappointing note, we were unable to pass HB1218, a bill that would have expanded the existing program allowing temporary leasing of water for protection of instream flows. The bill expanded the existing program from allowing temporary leases three years in a single ten year period; to allowing up to five years of leasing in ten, with renewal for up to two additional ten year terms. This program has already been used to help keep more water in drought-stricken streams, including three times (through 2018) on the Yampa River where leasing partnerships with the local water conservancy district have been essential in maintaining the fishery through drought years.  Unfortunately, the opposition was strong enough to derail the bill, and force it into a discussion during the Summer at the water resources and review committee.

Stay tuned: this fight will be back next year.

Spring Pre-Season Prep

Photo by Chad Chorney

Photo by Chad Chorney

Apr 25, 2019 - This is a repost from our business partner’s blog, Rep Your Water.

Post written by Chad Chorney - photographer, guide for Picabo Anglers in Idaho and RepYourWater Ambassador

Spring Pre-Season Prep

 Spring is a great time to take a look at your fly-fishing gear and get ready for the upcoming season. Here are a few things you can do to take care of your rods, reels, waders, boots, and lines.

Fly Lines

Cleaning your fly lines is not only quick and easy, but also extends their life. Before cleaning, inspect the line for any cracks, splits, nicks, etc. A small crack or nick in the line can be fixed with a thin coating of UV epoxy or with a splice; larger problems are best solved by getting a new line. Don’t throw your old lines in the garbage! Flyvines (www.flyvines.com), will recycle your old lines into bracelets, lanyards, and sun glass retainers.

 To clean your line, all you need are a couple of buckets, warm water, mild dish detergent, and a soft, clean cloth (chamois is a great material to use). One bucket should contain warm water and a bit of the detergent, while the other bucket is used for a clean water rinse. Strip your line into the soapy bucket and let it sit for about a half hour. Next, run the line through the soft cloth as you strip it into the rinse bucket. The final step is to strip the line into a clean, dry bucket, and then wind back on the reel. For optimal results, you can then lightly coat your line with a fly line dressing. Rio Products (www.rioproducts.com) has two great videos on line cleaning and care under the “Learn” heading on their website.

 Fly Rods

 It’s a good idea to inspect and clean your fly rods as well. Check the guides for any nicks or grooves. Look closely at the ferrules and reel seat to determine if any problems exist. Fixing these problems now can save you time on the water later!

Cork rod grips can be cleaned with soapy water and a very soft-bristled brush. To clean the rod itself, use either a damp cloth or a common furniture polish such as Pledge. If using polish, be sure to apply only a light coating, and remove any excess.

Photo by Chad Chorney

Photo by Chad Chorney

Cork rod grips can be cleaned with soapy water and a very soft-bristled brush. To clean the rod itself, use either a damp cloth or a common furniture polish such as Pledge. If using polish, be sure to apply only a light coating, and remove any excess.

 Fly Reels

While fishing, it’s easy for dirt, sand, and grit to find its way into the inner workings of your fly reels. Debris that becomes lodged in the fly reel’s drag, spool, or handle can seriously damage the reel. Rinse your reels in clean water and let them air dry thoroughly. Tough dirt can be removed with a cotton swab, and a can of compressed air is useful at cleaning out tight spaces.

 Waders & Boots

Waders that are very dirty can lose some of their breathability and waterproofing. Most waders can be cleaned via the gentle cycle (cold water only) on household washing machines. It’s critical to use a quality detergent such as Tech Wash; this detergent, and others like it, will not impede the breathability of materials such as Gore-Tex. After washing, waders should be air dried only. Never put your waders in the dryer! Spraying cleaned waders with Revivex will enhance the breathability and performance of waders. Note – it’s a good idea to consult specific wader manufacturers web sites for washing instructions.

Shoelaces on wading boots can degrade over time. Now is a great time top replace wading boot laces and inspect the wading boots for tears, loose soles, etc.

Cleaning your gear as described above won’t take much time, and if you take care of your gear, it will take care of you!

National Trout Unlimited is hiring in Colorado!

Penn-Mine-from-E-Russell (1).jpg

POSITION DESCRIPTION TITLE: Mine Reclamation Project Manager

DEPARTMENT: Western Water and Habitat Program

REPORTS TO: Colorado Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program Manager

POSITION TYPE/HOURS: Full time/40 hours

DATE: 03/25/19

POSITION SUMMARY This is an exciting opportunity to join Trout Unlimited and use your talents to improve water quality and fisheries in Colorado watersheds impacted by historic hardrock mining. TU is hiring a self-motivated and highly capable person to facilitate and execute abandoned mine land reclamation and stream reclamation projects in watersheds across Colorado. This project manager will take projects from start to finish, which consists of developing project concepts, obtaining project funding, and managing project implementation .

Dreaming of making a big catch on a Bristol Bay river? Help keep that dream alive...

(H. Res) Grayling 2.jpg

Today, we have the opportunity to help keep North America’s great remaining wild salmon region in Bristol Bay, Alaska from being destroyed by the massive proposed Pebble mine.  

WHAT’S AT STAKE: 

  • The health of the world’s largest sockeye salmon run

  • A $1.5 billion combined Bristol Bay fishery

  • 14,000 jobs supported by the Bristol Bay salmon fishery

The lead agency reviewing the key federal permit for the proposed Pebble mine has released a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement, the most important document in the process that could lead to a massive, ill-planned copper mine in the headwaters of a region producing over half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon.   

Currently, the comment period is set to be 90 days long (March 1 - May 30), with 9 public hearings in Alaska. Though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be the lead agency, it is equally important that members of Congress, the U.S. EPA, the President and, (if in Alaska) the Governor are aware of continued, broad opposition to the proposed Pebble mine. 

Now is the time to comment to the Corps of Engineers that the Pebble mine should not advance in Bristol Bay due to risks it poses to the world class salmon and famed rainbow trout fisheries of the region. 

There’s no time for complacency when it comes to Pebble Mine. Please tell the agency reviewing Pebble’s most important permit to follow the science and stop the mine. Please take action today. 

Seeing Red: Do fewer protections impact your water?

The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are proposing to significantly narrow the scope of protections for our nation’s waters. The proposal would replace a positive, TU-supported 2015 rule (the Clean Water Rule) designed to clarify the scope of Clean Water Act protections, which includes protections for headwaters, intermittent and ephemeral streams, and wetlands. The new proposal (Replacement Rule) would substantially weaken the Clean Water Act, one of the Nation’s most effective natural resource laws.

Whether you fish or just simply understand the value of clean water, there is no law more important than the Clean Water Act. In 2015, the EPA developed a rule that affirmed Clean Water Act protections for “intermittent and ephemeral streams.” In 2018,  the Environmental Protection Agency proposed weakening these protections. These streams —the headwaters of our nation’s rivers —provide us the fisheries we cherish and the clean drinking water we require. -Trout Unlimited

Intermittent streams are those that have a continuous flow but only at certain times of the year, sustained seasonally by springs, ground-water inputs or a surface water source such as rain or melting snow.    Ephemeral streams flow only briefly (hours to days) in direct response to precipitation in the immediate vicinity.

Intermittent streams are those that have a continuous flow but only at certain times of the year, sustained seasonally by springs, ground-water inputs or a surface water source such as rain or melting snow.

Ephemeral streams flow only briefly (hours to days) in direct response to precipitation in the immediate vicinity.

The proposed Replacement Rule would end Clean Water Act protections for millions of stream miles across the country — streams that contribute to the drinking water supplies of 117-million Americans and provide essential fish and wildlife habitat that support a robust outdoor recreation economy worth $887 billion. The proposed rule would also erase protections for millions of acres of wetlands, a critical part of functioning watersheds, including groundwater recharge, pollution filtration, as well as protecting communities from flooding. In eliminating these protections, the Replacement Rule would deregulate a host of development activities, such as pipeline construction that will, over time, degrade hunting and fishing opportunities in every state in the country.

The Clean Water Act and the 2015 Rule are vital to TU’s work and to anglers across the nation. Whether TU is working with farmers to restore small headwater streams in West Virginia, removing acidic pollution caused by abandoned mines in Pennsylvania, or protecting the world-famous salmon-producing, 14,000-jobs-sustaining watershed of Bristol Bay, Alaska, we rely on the Clean Water Act to safeguard our water quality.  

TU members, and sportsmen and women nationwide, want to move forward with progress on cleaning up our nation’s waters, not go backwards. Please join us in writing to tell the Agencies that the Clean Water Act needs to be improved, not weakened. The proposed Replacement Rule should be rejected.    

Win a float trip through the Gunnison Gorge for two!

GunnisonFloatBlackCanyon.png

Would you like to win a two-day float on gold medal waters? One person will win a trip for two down the Gunnison Gorge with Black Canyon Anglers. The trip includes lodging and dinner the night prior to the launch. On the float all meals are taken care of, if rental equipment is needed, it will be provided. The trip will be valid until October 2019. Click the link below to learn more and purchase tickets.

1 entry is $10 and 3 entries is $25. You must be a Colorado resident to participate. Winner will be drawn April 27, 2019 at 8:00pm.