It has been an eventful year for Colorado Trout Unlimited and our 23 chapters. We’ve seen a growth in capacity thanks to new full-time volunteers and additional National TU staff, conducted on-the-ground projects to improve habitat and restore native trout, extended our advocacy on behalf of rivers, and created new partnerships to strengthen our ability to conserve, protect and restore Colorado’s rivers and watersheds. All of these efforts were made possible through the involvement and support of our members, donors, and partners – and we deeply appreciate each and every one of you. Looking back at the past year, here are a few of the highlights from 2011:
- Yampa Valley Fly Fishers – long time leaders in conservation projects in the Steamboat Springs area – become the 23rd active chapter of Trout Unlimited in Colorado.
- Colorado TU and the Colorado Water Project expand efforts to educate and engage the public in protecting the Colorado headwaters, launching a new Defend the Colorado website featuring the “Faces of the Fraser” – local residents from an Olympic skier to a logger who share their connections with the river.
- Colorado TU brings on two new OSM/VISTAs – full time volunteers funded with support from the Office of Surface Mining and Americorps – to strengthen our efforts with youth education and RiverWatch water quality monitoring programs.
- Denver Water and west slope interests announce an agreement to provide additional water and funds to benefit the Colorado River headwaters. The agreement does not address the impacts of proposed new projects, but is a good start in collaboration to benefit the Colorado, Fraser, and Williams Fork.
- Upslope Brewing Company unveils its new craft lager with a “1% For Rivers” program where a portion of all sales of the new beer benefit Colorado TU.
- Our new ColoradoTU.org website launches with an enhanced design, pages on TU activities in basins across the state, and an improved set of tools for visitors to engage with TU in river conservation.
- Grand Valley Anglers and Colorado TU volunteers plant more than 200 willows along Trapper Creek on the Roan Plateau, helping improve riparian habitat for a key native Colorado River cutthroat trout stream. Grand Valley Anglers also assists federal agencies with reconstruction of a reservoir atop Battlement Mesa as a refuge habitat for native cutthroat trout.
- TU and a coalition of agency and private sector partners – with volunteer support from the Collegiate Peaks Anglers chapter – complete award-winning mine restoration work along Kerber Creek in the historic Bonanza mining district.
- After years of advocacy and volunteer monitoring, TU and the Evergreen Chapter successfully get Bear Creek listed as an “impaired water” for temperature under the Clean Water Act – triggering a state regulatory process to identify the sources of the problem and develop projects to address them..
- The West Denver Chapter completes work on the Canyon Reach project, improving fish habitat and angling accessibility on Clear Creek.
- Colorado TU holds its first “Golf Classic,” engaging more than 120 participating golfers and raising funds for conservation and education.
- Denver TU provides seed money to launch development of a master plan for river restoration in the south Denver metro area; the plan wins unanimous approval from the South Suburban Parks & Recreation District and City of Littleton opening the door to a new “golden age” for the South Platte.
This is a long list, but still far from complete. And with your help, we will work to make 2012 an even better year for Colorado’s rivers and watersheds. Thank you – and happy new year to you all!