A very important bill for native cutthroat trout, The Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, continues to move forward in Congress. In late November of last year, the Hermosa Creek legislation received a hearing in the Senate subcommittee of Energy and Natural Resources. The bill’s Senate sponsor, Senator Bennet, gave impassioned and enthusiastic testimony. In speaking to the overwhelming local support and lack of any opposition, Senator Bennet said, “You may have some controversial bills before you today, Mr. Chairman, but this is not one of them.” Senator Bennet even gave a plug to Trout Unlimited’s leading efforts while highlighting native trout and big game habitat. The Hermosa Creek legislation is unique in many ways. It is the first bill to protect an entire watershed as an intact, whole unit. The bill is one of only a few, ever, where native trout are one of the major values being protected. The Hermosa Creek bill has the support of the CO Snowmobile Association and CO Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition – a rare endorsement for a bill containing a wilderness component. But, what was of significant interest at the Senate hearing was the presence, and testimony, of the bill’s House sponsor, Representative Tipton. Rarely does a House member testify in the Senate. Misters Tipton and Bennet sat side-by-side in a show of bipartisan support, unified by a magical place and the values of Southwest Colorado.
In a time of hyper-partisanship in Congress, bitter fighting and impermeable party walls, it is refreshing to see a special place in Colorado bring Congressional members together, even if for just a moment. With the continued support of Trout Unlimited’s members, staff and resources, we hope to see Hermosa Creek remain just the way it is for the next generation of sportsmen and women.
See the proposal at www.hermosacreek.org and follow us on Facebook at ‘Sportsmen for Hermosa’.
---Ty Churchwell, Sportsmen's Conservation Project, firstname.lastname@example.org