TU hires new Gunnison River basin coordinator

March 14, 2011
Drew Peternell, (303) 440-2937, x 102
Cary Denison, (970) 596-3291
TU hires new Gunnison River basin coordinator
Part of sportsmen group’s expanded presence in western Colorado

Trout Unlimited’s Colorado Water Project today announced the hiring of Cary Denison as project coordinator for the Gunnison River basin in west-central Colorado. Denison, a native and long-time resident of the Gunnison basin, will be headquartered in Delta. Denison will plan and implement habitat improvement projects on key stream reaches in the Gunnison basin, with the goal of protecting, reconnecting and restoring trout populations. Cary will collaborate with water users, private land owners and agency staff to improve streams and implement cooperative arrangements that benefit both agricultural producers and fish habitat. 

Denison will work closely with volunteers in TU’s Grand Valley Anglers, Gunnison Angling Society and Gunnison Gorge Anglers chapters. 

Prior to joining TU, Denison headed Colorado Land and Water Specialists, a water resources management firm that planned, designed and constructed stream restoration and irrigation projects in the Gunnison basin. He also has worked for the Colorado Division of Water Resources as a water commissioner in the Gunnison and San Miguel River basins, reviewing water court applications, assisting water users and administering water rights during periods of water shortage.

In his various roles, Cary has worked extensively with private landowners and irrigators to create collaborative and productive relationships.

“Cary brings a wealth of experience to our efforts in the Gunnison basin,” said Drew Peternell, director of TU’s Colorado Water Project, which works to improve stream flows and coldwater fisheries in the state. “He is a problem-solver with a proven track record of managing water resources and water projects. He also has a strong commitment to finding water solutions that benefit both private landowners and fisheries.”

As is true in many areas across Colorado, fish habitat in certain stream segments in the Gunnison basin is fragmented and degraded. Trout Unlimited, a grassroots sportsmen’s conservation organization with 10,000 members in Colorado, is expanding its restoration work in the Gunnison. TU’s goal is to work collaboratively with ranchers and landowners to restore streams and improve flows with irrigation upgrades and other tools.

“This is a natural extension of the restoration work I’ve been doing for years in the Gunnison basin,” said Denison of his new position. “I have a strong connection to these waters. I grew up fishing here, and today I boat and fish the Gunnison with my kids. I’m excited about this opportunity to make a difference for my home waters.”