At the annual CTU Awards Banquet, held as part of the Rendezvous in Redstone on April 20, awards were presented to recognize both chapters and individuals for their contributions to river conservation. From river restoration projects, to volunteers for youth education, this year's award winners were an impressive bunch. Awards presented were: Outstanding Volunteers. CTU recognized three volunteer members for their outstanding contributions:
- Charlie Horn was recognized for his longstanding efforts in youth education, both spearheading West Denver TU's partnership with the Jefferson County Outdoor Lab Schools and assisting Colorado TU in bringing the "Stream Explorers" program to youth in the Denver metro area.
- Ralph Rhoades was honored for his broad volunteer commitment with the Cherry Creek Anglers - helping the chapter with everything from organizing youth education programs, to coordinating the annual fly tying clinic, to lining up compelling programs for chapter meetings.
- Brad Waltman was recognized for his leadership in establishing youth education initiatives with the new Dolores River Anglers chapter including partnerships with schools and scouting organizations - helping a new chapter to make a difference with the youth in its community.
Chapter Communications. The Evergreen Chapter was recognized for its revitalized efforts to communicate with its members on a regular basis with a well-written and welll-researched newsletter and website, while the Grand Valley Anglers was honored for its outstanding newsletter the "Territorial Trout Tribune and Piscatorial Post."
Youth Education. The Cheyenne Mountain Chapter was honored for a diverse program of educational efforts including partnerships with the Catamount Institute, the first-in-the-nation "Trout in the Community" project modeled after Trout in the Classroom, and involvement with the National Fishing in Schools Program.
Projects. The Gunnison Gorge Anglers were recognized for their Relief Ditch project, partnering with local irrigators to replace a diversion structure so as to improve river habitat and flows while also reducing maintenance burdens for farmers. The Purgatoire River Anglers were honored for their work in engaging the Trinidad community and conducting in-stream habitat improvements on the Purgatoire River through town.
Exemplary Chapter. The Gunnison Gorge Anglers were selected as this year's exemplary chapter, in recognition of their outstanding work on the Relief Ditch project coupled with an outstanding chapter event - the Black Canyon Fly Fishing Expo; strong youth programs; and an effective chapter communications effort.
Exemplary Guide & Outfitter. In recognition both of generous support to Colorado Trout Unlimited and its chapters through fundraising donations - along with tireless advocacy and education on issues from protecting Browns Canyon on the Arkansas to conserving wildlife and fish habitat in the face of oil and gas development, Bill Dvorak of Dvorak Expeditions was Colorado TU's Exemplary Guide & Outfitter of the year.
Trout Conservation Award. Attorney Michael Freeman of EarthJustice was recognized for his representation of Colorado TU and other conservationists in our challenge to the BLM's Roan Plateau management plan - which lacked appropriate protections for the Roan's outstanding fish and wildlife values. Freeman spearheaded what was a major legal victory for conservationists, and continues to lead efforts to reach a reasonable agreement with oil and gas interests that allows development in appropriate areas while protecting the most valuable habitats on the Roan.
Trout Communications Award. Scott Willoughby of The Denver Post was honored for his writing on outdoor recreation and conservation issues - including extensive coverage of the challenges facing the Upper Colorado River and the importance of anglers and boaters engaging in its protection.
Distinguished Service Award. For his longstanding efforts on behalf of trout conservation - from representing TU in National Forest processes for travel management on the west slope and for seeking compromise solutions on disputes over "bypass flows" at diversions on National Forests, to spearheading on-the-ground stream monitoring and native trout restoration projects, John Trammell of Grand Junction received the Distinguished Service Award. Additionally, Mely Whiting was honored for her effective representation of Trout Unlimited on issues in the Colorado River headwaters - including work on Wild & Scenic River negotiations that resulted in an historic instream flow filing and successful negotiation of a strong river conservation package with the Windy Gap Firming Project.
Bruce Hoagland Award for Leadership in Conservation. Longtime Colorado TU lobbyist and board member Jo Evans was honored for her lifetime contributions toward conservation. Read more here.
Congratulations - and thank you! - to all of these award winners.