Brian Hodge, Project Coordinator, Yampa and White River Basins

As a member of TU’s Colorado Water Project, I work to meet TU’s mission through on-the-ground projects.  My goal is to plan and implement projects that benefit coldwater fish and landowner alike.  By helping to improve irrigation efficiency, for example, we can, under the right circumstances, both improve ranch operations and increase stream flows for trout.  I frequently work with private landowners and agency partners to reach conservation goals. Here’s a flavor of happenings in the northwest Colorado:

In 2012, I worked with Yampa River Ranch and Partners for Fish and Wildlife (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) to protect a 1.6-mile segment of the Yampa River. The Ranch wanted both to run cattle and to maximize habitat for brown trout.  So we constructed a riparian fence that enhanced the ranch’s ability to concurrently manage for a livestock operation and trout fishery.

I’m currently working with the U.S. Forest Service to reconnect Poose Creek.  Poose Creek is occupied by native Colorado River Cutthroat Trout.  However, since the 1960s a large culvert under a county road has prevented cutthroat and other fishes from accessing the headwaters.  We’re installing a fish ladder to restore fish passage in Poose Creek.

This year, I continued working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and others on multi-phase efforts to restore Armstrong and Milk creeks.  Both streams are home to native cutthroat trout and to two lesser-known native, coldwater fishes: mountain sucker and mottled sculpin.  Additional information is available at the following links:

Armstrong Creek.

Milk Creek.

We’ve implemented successful projects and developed valuable partnerships in northwest Colorado. Additional opportunities await.

Brian Hodge -