January Currents: We're just getting started!

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The latest issue of Currents is out! See how we are kicking off our 50th Anniversary this year! We also have a list of upcoming events around the state and an exclusive peek at the 50th Anniversary custom rod made by SaraBella Fishing, which will only be available at the River Stewardship Gala on March 7, 2019. 

High Country Angler Winter Issue

That's right, the latest digital issue of High Country Angler, Winter 2019 is now available! This issue features a Q& A with Colorado Governor-Elect Jared Polis, the fishing trip of a lifetime in New Zealand, how raising trout in a classroom inspires youth, stories on both fishing and conservation work on the Dolores, a recap of Greenback Cutthroat recovery efforts, and upcoming events to look forward to in 2019. All of this and more is available to read now. Happy New Year!

EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers aim to cut protections for thousands of streams

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Proposal leaves important drinking water sources and habitat unprotected from pollution 

For immediate release 

Dec. 11, 2018 

Contact: 
Steve Moyer, steve.moyer@tu.org, (571) 274-0593
Vice President of Government Affairs

Shauna Stephenson, shauna.stephenson@tu.org (307) 757-7861
National Communications Director

(Dec. 11, 2018) WASHINGTON D.C. -- Trout Unlimited announced its strong opposition to the proposed rollback of protections for thousands of miles of streams and many wetlands today by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The proposal outlines an ill-conceived approach to applying the Clean Water Act by eliminating protection for thousands of stream miles in the country – streams that supply drinking water for millions of Americans. It also erases protections for thousands of acres of wetlands, a critical component to a functioning watersheds. 

 The proposal will 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. 

“Today’s proposal is so far off track that you cannot see the track from where this proposal landed,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “Headwater streams, especially ephemeral streams, are like the capillaries in our bodies – they're small and easy to overlook, but we wouldn’t last long without them. It is a fundamentally flawed proposal.” 

Polls show Americans overwhelmingly support protections for clean water and the Clean Water Act. 

“The Agencies’ proposal turns its back on the importance of small headwater streams to healthy waterways and sportfishing recreation," said Steve Moyer, vice president of government affairs for Trout Unlimited.  “Sportsmen and women know that we all live downstream. All the benefits of our larger streams, rivers, and bays are dependent on the health of our small streams.” 

Using the Clean Water Act to protect headwater streams is especially valuable to Trout Unlimited. At a basic level, 59 percent of rivers and stream miles in the lower 48 states are intermittent or ephemeral (i.e., they are small or headwater streams that do not flow year-round). However, in the drier southwest, that figure is higher. In Arizona, 96 percent of the waters are intermittent or ephemeral streams. EPA Region 8, consisting of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas, estimates that only 17 percent of the waters in its states flow year-round.   

Headwater streams contribute to the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans, protect communities from flooding, and provide essential fish and wildlife habitat that support a robust outdoor recreation economy worth $887 billion.  

“Clean water is not a political issue. It is a basic right of every American,” Wood said. “To be effective, the Clean Water Act must be able to control pollution at its source -- upstream in the headwaters and wetlands that flow downstream through communities to our major lakes, rivers, and bays. We urge the Agencies to reconsider their flawed proposal and remember the very purpose of the Clean Water Act.” 

Frequently asked questions: 

How Did We Get Here?  

When the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, it protected virtually all of America’s waters--every type of stream, wetland, river, lake or bay. A 2001 Supreme Court decision first questioned if all wetlands and streams should in fact be protected--and the issue has become ever-more politicized since then. 

In 2015, under President Obama, the EPA finalized a rule (the Clean Water Rule) clarifying that the Clean Water Act protects all of our nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands. The rule gained strong support from sportsmen, scientists and the public, but it was opposed by a powerful coalition of agriculture and development interests  

What’s happening now? 

Early in 2017, President Trump directed the EPA to first rescind and then replace the Clean Water Rule. The Administration’s efforts to rescind the 2015 Rule have partially blocked, as the 2015 Rule is in effect in 22 states. The new proposal, unveiled today, is an unwarranted effort to replace the 2015 Rule. The new proposal is NOT based in science and is NOT consistent with the goals of the Clean Water Act. The new rollback proposal will undermine long standing protections for wetlands and small streams, it will harm hunting and fishing in America. 

Why should sportsmen care? 

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 improvements. 

TU members, and sportsmen and women nationwide, want to move forward with progress on cleaning up our nation’s waters, not go backwards. Thus, the Clean Water Act needs to be improved, not weakened—the as was the case in today’s proposal. 

 

 Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and TwitterInstagram and our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation.  

 

Fishing for Fahrenheit

Guy Turenne and Phil Wright trekking through deep snow to find a buried stream temperature probe on Fall Creek. Photo Credit: Phil Wright, 2019.

Guy Turenne and Phil Wright trekking through deep snow to find a buried stream temperature probe on Fall Creek. Photo Credit: Phil Wright, 2019.

It was a beautiful November day in the high country, as Guy Turenne and Phil Wright climbed their way over drifts of fresh snow along Fall Creek – a tiny tributary in the heart of Colorado’s northern mountains. 

This time, it was not fish that they were after, but a small temperature probe the size of a silver dollar, lying in wait at the bottom of the stream channel.  Months earlier, Guy and Phil, along with dozens of other TU volunteers, worked with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to place these loggers in different stream locations throughout the eastern half of the state.

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Fish are heavily affected by temperature – especially trout.  Changes in thermal regimes over the course of a few hours to a few months can trigger fish to spawn, eat, grow, and even breathe.  We all saw stories in the hot, dry summer months of 2018, when low flows and extreme ambient air temperatures brought some rivers to over 79°F.  At that point, dissolved oxygen becomes increasingly scarce and fish can die. 

Stream temperatures also impact the normal day-to-day and cyclic activities of our trout.  For example, Rainbow trout will spawn in the spring when water temperature begins to rise and reaches 45-56 degrees F (52°F is ideal).  Conversely, Brown trout will spawn in the fall as water temperatures drop within 44-48°F.  Each species of trout thrives at different conditions.

So, what does any of this have to do with two TU volunteers hiking through two feet of snow in the middle of Winter?

As it turns out – a lot!  Just as water temperature affects the spawning cycle of Rainbows and Browns, thermal regimes play an important role in the development of Cutthroat trout – in this case, Greenbacks and Rio Grandes.  These fish have evolved over thousands of years to eat, grow, and reproduce at specific thermal conditions in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.  As Trout Unlimited and native trout recovery partners continue to engage in projects that reclaim habitat and stock native fingerlings, we must ensure that the temperature regimes will support those fish long term.

But collecting that level of data across thousands of miles of small tributaries and remote drainages can pose a challenge to recovery partners.  Fortunately, TU volunteers came to the rescue.

Chris Carroll, aquatic biologist with the U.S. Forest Service teaches TU volunteers how to attach stream temperature probes during April 2018 training.

Chris Carroll, aquatic biologist with the U.S. Forest Service teaches TU volunteers how to attach stream temperature probes during April 2018 training.

With critical funding supplied by the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) and the U.S. Forest Service, volunteers from several chapters helped to identify future habitat for the returning Greenback and Rio Grande Cutthroat.  In the Spring of 2018, the project kicked off with a USFS-led volunteer training during the annual CTU Rendezvous in Keystone.  From that point, chapter representatives recruited and trained their own local group of temperature probe deployment experts. Over the course of the summer, TU volunteers exceeded the original 30-site goal by setting and maintaining over 40 HOBO stream temperature loggers in several key drainages that have potential for recovery sites.

Evergreen TU volunteer, Mike Goldblatt, points to a recently-installed stream temperature probe in the Bear Creek drainage.

“We observed that the RMF membership and other members of the community seem to value stream monitoring efforts in general, are strongly supportive of such efforts, and are willing to volunteer,” explained Phil Wright, project coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter. 

As the leaves changed and fell from the trees, TU volunteers went back into the field to collect the data – which was then transferred to biologists at USFS and CPW.  From there, recovery partners will be able to show a better picture of which watersheds will make good candidates for future reintroduction. 

Trout Unlimited volunteers continue to help advance native trout recovery throughout Colorado each year – even winning a regional volunteer service award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2018.  Whether its notching beaver dams, backpacking in fingerlings, or tramping through two feet of powder, TU volunteers are committed and engaged in the recovery of our native trout.  The stream temperature study is another chapter of this important saga – and one that will undoubtedly be the preface for the next wave of native cutthroat recovery sites.  Who knows… maybe one of those streams will be in your backyard!

Colorado Trout Unlimited would like to recognize our valuable partners and chapters who have made this project possible:

Western Native Trout Initiative, the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Evergreen TU, West Denver TU, Rocky Mountain Flycasters TU, Alpine Anglers TU, Cutthroat Chapter TU, Pikes Peak TU, San Luis Valley TU, and Boulder Flycasters TU.

If you are interested to learn more about this project or volunteer, please visit Colorado TU’s Native Trout Page.

Behind the Fin with Cooper Hyland

Cooper loves helping others catch fish!

Cooper loves helping others catch fish!

Join us Behind the Fin with 13-year-old Cooper Hyland, JR Fishing Guide and TU Member.

How long have you been a TU member?

I have been a Trout Unlimited member for about 2 years now.


Why did you become a member and what chapter are you involved with?

I became a TU member because I met the manager of our local chapter, Greg Hardy, when I was fishing and he said it was a good way to help our fish so that they could be big and strong for all fisherman.


What is your favorite activity or project you have done with TU?

My favorite project that I have done with TU is the group fly tying session it was very cool to have so many people to learn from and so many secret flies.


Do you have a favorite place to fish or fun fishing story?

My favorite fishing story is when I was teaching a kid to fish and he was getting very discouraged because he could not get any fish and the last 5 minutes we were trolling with a Rapala and a huge brown trout ate it. When we got the monster on he was on a heavy rod and he almost broke it. As we got it into the boat the fish was in the net and before we get it into the boat he spun his head and snapped the hook and got away.  We had no picture of the fish. I felt so bad that we did not catch the fish, But a couple months later the mom of the kid called me to thank me for introducing him to the sport she says that he has become a self-made fisherman and is now fishing at least 1 time per week.

What does being a part of TU mean to you?

Being a TU member means a lot, but to me but I think that what it means to me the most is that I can sleep knowing that we are keeping our waterways safe and clean for future fisherman. 


What other hobbies or activities do you like to do? 

Some of my other hobbies include rocketry, engineering, electronics, and math.

Colorado leaders join bipartisan rally to help save LWCF

LWCFCoalition.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2018

CONTACT: Justin Bartolomeo

(202) 789-4365

jbartolomeo@hdmk.org

Bipartisan Conservation Champions Rally to Save LWCF by Year’s End

Washington, D.C. – Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) champions in the House and Senate rallied on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with conservation leaders and outdoor recreation advocates today calling on Congress to reauthorize and fully fund America’s most important conservation and recreation program before the end of the year.

"Two months ago, America lost one of its best conservation tools,” said Lynn Scarlett, Former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior and head of External Affairs at The Nature Conservancy. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps protect national parks, expand outdoor recreation opportunities and bolster local economies, all at no cost to the American taxpayer. It’s too important to continue leaving its future in doubt. Now more than ever, we have the bipartisan momentum to get LWCF the permanent reauthorization and full funding it deserves. For the protection of our lands, waters and the benefits their conservation bring to communities and our economy, now is the time to save LWCF.”

“Colorado’s beautiful public lands rely on the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Congress needs to ensure it remains in place for years to come,” said Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). “I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we do what is right and permanently reauthorize and fully fund this vital outdoors conservation program.”

“The expiration of a widely popular program like LWCF demonstrates just how broken Washington is. If we don’t want to find ourselves in this exact position again down the road, we must permanently reauthorize LWCF. And if we want to grow our outdoor recreation economy and protect treasured landscapes, we must fully fund it. I’ll keep working across the aisle to find a solution that gives this conservation tool the longevity and funding it deserves,” said Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO).

“Since it was enacted 54 years ago, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect many of the nation’s most popular national parks, forests, and public lands. It has provided millions of Americans the opportunity to hunt, fish, hike, vacation and enjoy the beauty of nature and our great American landscapes,” said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “It has pumped billions of dollars into the outdoor economy and provided millions of good jobs.

“Protecting our public lands is good for the environment, it’s good for the economy and it’s good for the health and welfare of our people. Money made available through the Land and Water Conservation Fund is money well spent,” Senator Cantwell added.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund remains the single most successful conservation program in American history,” said Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). “Nearly every congressional district in the country benefits from its funding – at no cost to the taxpayer – and millions enjoy the parks, ballfields, and landscapes it maintains every day. My colleagues and I will continue to push for a permanent reauthorization of this important program.

About the Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America’s most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, trails, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local level. For more than 50 years, it has provided critical funding for land and water conservation projects, access to recreation including hunting and fishing, and the continued historic preservation of our nation’s iconic landmarks from coast-to-coast. LWCF does not use any taxpayer dollars – it is funded using a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments. Outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation activities contribute more than $887 billion annually to the U.S. economy, supporting 7.6 million jobs.

About the LWCF Coalition

The LWCF Coalition is comprised of more than 1,000 state and regional conservation and recreation organizations of all sizes, land owners, small businesses, ranchers, sportsmen, veterans, the outdoor recreation industry and conservationists working together to protect America’s public lands and safeguard our shared outdoor heritage for future generations. The Coalition is united in its advocacy for the permanent reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which will ensure the continued conservation of our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness, civil war battlefields, working lands and state and local parks. For more information on LWCF and the places in each state that LWCF funds have protected, visit www.lwcfcoalition.org.

I took my dad fishing

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! On this day we would like to share a story from one of our CTU staff about taking her dad fly fishing in Colorado. We hope everyone has a safe holiday and finds time to spend it with friends, family, or the great outdoors!

Written By Bianca Martinez-McGrath, CTU Youth Education VISTA

Bianca’s dad holding a rainbow trout before releasing back into the water.

Bianca’s dad holding a rainbow trout before releasing back into the water.

Over the past 5 years, I have moved around to a lot of different places. It has gotten to the point where my parents are quick to ask me “where are you going next?” so they can start planning their next vacation to come see me. So, when my parents decided to come to Colorado a couple months after I first arrived, I knew I had to make this trip memorable for them. I took them to see the Garden of the Gods and to a Cuban-inspired jazz show in Downtown Denver. We went up to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado and, considering my new position with Colorado Trout Unlimited, I knew it would only make sense to take my dad fly fishing.  
 
I knew this would be a perfect opportunity for both of us because I had only been fly fishing a couple of times and my dad had been fly fishing once or twice as a child. Our guided trip with Scott Dickson of Trouts Fly Fishing shop began early with a snowy drive over to Deckers so we could fish on the South Platte. Throughout the day, we would experience just about every season of weather that exists. My goal for this trip was to learn as much as possible from Scott, see my dad catch a fish, and catch one for myself. Although I had been fly fishing a couple of times before, all I had gotten in contact with were a couple of fish that managed to unhook themselves and a few very aggressive rocks.  

Bianca holding a brown trout she caught and released immediately after.

Bianca holding a brown trout she caught and released immediately after.

After six hours of fishing, my dad ended up being able to catch a good amount of trout. I could tell from how little quiet time there was on the way back to Denver that he enjoyed every moment of it. As for me, I caught a few Brown trout and got to see my dad fully enjoy the experience, an experience that has motivated many members of Trout Unlimited to protect and conserve their cold-water fisheries. It has been almost three years since I lived near my parents, so having this experience with my dad was an important one for me. I am only hoping that fly fishing becomes something we can do at all of the new destinations that we experience together.  

Time for Congress to support our great outdoors

Repost from the Grand Junction Sentinel:

by THE DAVE DRAGOO

With elections behind us, Congress is reconvening for its so-called "lame duck" session. One of its first orders of business should be to permanently reauthorize our nation's most successful outdoor recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Over its more than 50 years, the LWCF has provided more than $16 billion in protecting valuable habitats, expanding public access to America's public lands, and supporting local projects for outdoor recreation. And it has done so without busting the federal budget — relying on revenue generated by the success of America's energy sector, not taxpayer dollars.

Close to home, LWCF has helped western Colorado with investments from protecting the Ophir Valley above Telluride, to securing key inholdings at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, to supporting the community Riverwalk in Pagosa Springs. More than $268 million has flowed into Colorado from LWCF, securing key public lands, opening up improved hunting and angling access, and supporting community trail and park development.

Yet despite bipartisan support and a long track record of success, Congressional gridlock allowed the LWCF to expire on Sept. 30. The loss of LWCF could seriously hamper future efforts to conserve valuable habitats and expand public access to America's public lands. Fortunately, the lame duck session gives Congress a second chance to reinstate the program with full, dedicated annual funding.

Here in Colorado, we know that protecting our outdoor resources isn't just about the environment and our quality of life — it is also an investment in our state's economy and our communities. Outdoor recreation in Colorado contributes $62.5 billion to our state economy, and supports 511,000 jobs. For businesses like Mayfly, the great outdoors is our corporate infrastructure — and the LWCF helps provide the outdoor resources for our customers that allow us to invest in our companies, our workforce, and our communities.

Sens. Bennet and Gardner and Congressman Tipton have all supported permanent reauthorization of LWCF, for which Coloradans can be grateful. Now it is time for them, and the rest of Congress, to finish the job and ensure that this vital program continues to support Colorado's — and America's — great outdoors and the multi-billion outdoor recreation economy that it supports. The time is now to #SaveLWCF.

David Dragoo is president of Mayfly Outdoors, a Certified B Corp that operates Montrose-based Abel Reels and Ross Reels with the goal of conserving wildlife and fish habitats.

Article Link

Request for Proposals: Fish Passage and Ditch Diversion Improvement

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Trout Unlimited (TU), in coordination with the Town of Granby (Town), Grand County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is soliciting Proposals for Design Services for a diversion structure on the Fraser River in Granby, Colorado.  Proposals shall be received by TU via U.S. Mail and email by no later than January 4, 2019 at 5:00 pm at the following address:

Mely Whiting

P.O. Box 1544

Pagosa Springs, CO 81147

mwhiting@tu.org

Intent to submit a proposal shall be submitted via email to Mely Whiting at mwhiting@tu.org by December 21, 2018.  Only those contractors that submit an “intent to submit proposals” will be considered for a final proposal. The intent to submit proposal should list the primary contact and their contact information.

Consulting services shall be led by a primary Contractor, whose team should include appropriate fish passage engineers/scientists, river modeling and scour analysis experts, ditch diversion designers, and experience in water rights related to ditch diversions in Colorado. Contractor selection will be made through a combination of Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) and Cost Based Processes as described in this Request for Proposals (RFP). Please refer to the following sections for details on the project, conditions, schedule, proposal requirements, and selection process.

QUESTIONS and ONSITE FIELD VISIT

An onsite, field visit will occur on November 28, 2018 to answer questions about the project aspects.  Interested contractors are highly encouraged to attend.  Please meet at the Town of Granby Town Hall, Zero Jasper Avenue, Granby, Colorado at 2:00 pm on November 28, 2018. All questions relating to this RFP should be addressed to Mely Whiting by email, at mwhiting@tu.org.  Questions are due in writing by no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 5, 2018.  All questions will be addressed in one batch with answers sent out to all recipients by December 14, 2018.

IMPORTANT DATES:

  • November 14, 2018 Request For Proposals Announced

  • November 28, 2018 2:00pm Onsite Field Visit and Answer Questions at the Town of Grandby Town Hall

  • December 5, 2018 5:00pm All Questions due in writing by December to Mely Whiting by email, at mwhiting@tu.org

  • December 21, 2018 Intent to submit a proposal shall be submitted via email to Mely Whiting at mwhiting@tu.org

  • January 4, 2018 at 5:00pm Proposals shall be receivd by TU via U.S. Mail and email by no later than at the following address:

    Mely Whiting

    P.O. Box 1544

    Pagosa Springs, CO 81147

    mwhiting@tu.org

    Please download the full proposal details and requirements by clicking the button below:

Read the Latest Currents Newsletter

In an important victory for Colorado's rivers, communities and taxpayers, voters last night decided that Amendment 74 was NOT for them. We all value private property rights, and governmental “taking” of property already requires compensation under our Constitution. Amendment 74 would have gone far further, jeopardizing important state and local government efforts from water quality protections to even basic land use planning and zoning. Our pocketbooks were also at risk - a similar measure in Oregon led to more than $4 billion in claims against taxpayers. Fortunately 54% of Colorado voters rejected Amendment 74, leaving it far short of the 55% approval it needed to pass.

Local voters also approved new or renewed investment in natural resources such as parks, open space and water in Denver, Chaffee, Eagle and Park counties - good news for our conservation mission in those communities. Of course, Coloradoans also elected our next governor, Jared Polis, and a slate of new legislators. Colorado TU looks forward to working with Governor-elect Polis and with new and returning legislators from both parties on efforts to benefit our fisheries and watersheds, as well as our state's multi-billion outdoor industry.

Thank you to everyone who came out to vote against Amendment 74!

Other Highlights in the latest Currents Newsletter:

  • Colorado Gives Day

  • Frostbite Fish-off

  • Maroon Bells is Protected

  • Angler’s Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Winter Fishing the Cache La Poudre

  • Behind the Fin with Mike Goldblatt

  • Animas/Hermosa Creek Health post 416 Fire Event

  • Win a guided fly fishing trip for 2

  • Bonus Video: Backcountry Gunnison Fall Fly Fishing