Join us "behind the fin" with TU volunteer Anna Dexler-Dreis from Grand County. How long have you been a TU member?
I've been a member for 4 years. I joined once I moved to Grand County and started learning about water issues on the western slope.
Why did you become a member and what chapter are you involved with?
I'm a member of the Colorado River Headwaters Chapter. My entire life has been shaped by water. I grew up running and hiking along the shores of Lake Michigan and Cape Cod. Every time I move or travel to a new place, I seek out the closest water body and get lost near it. Water is life. Once I moved to Grand County, I started becoming involved in the local land trust. Since the land trust works to protect vital water rights, I knew becoming a TU member would be a natural fit. Plus, the Chapter President, Kirk Klancke, is legend here in Grand County.
What made you want to become involved with TU?
There were a few reasons I wanted to become involved with TU. First, Learning by Doing was heating up in Grand County, and in the beginning there was a lot of confusion about why Grand County was collaborating with the east slope water diverters. I wanted to go straight to the source to better understand this new west-east slope partnership. Second, the land trust I work for was starting to get more active in using conservation easements to protect vital water rights. I knew becoming a TU board member would be an asset to the land trust. Plus, my love for water has been strong throughout my entire life. Post-undergrad, I wanted to remain involved in water conservation.
What is your favorite activity or project that you have done with TU?
This past spring, I organized the vegetation component of the Fraser Flats River Habitat Project. The goal was to re-vegetate a 0.9-mile stretch of the Fraser River with willows and cottonwoods. In partnership with private and public entities, Denver Water, Learning by Doing, TU, and other funders and supporters, the community successfully planted thousands of willow stems and 90 Kremmling cottonwoods on the banks of the Fraser River. My favorite part of this project was that 150 volunteers came out to help over three days. It was amazing to see such huge community support!
I know you won’t tell me your top spot, so what is your second favorite fishing spot or favorite fishing story?
I only started fly fishing 5 or 6 years ago. My true passion is backpacking, so I love fishing small streams and alpine lakes for cutthroat and brook trout. My favorite fishing story is probably the first time I caught a fish on a fly rod when I was backpacking in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. I got so excited when I hooked a tiny brook trout that I reeled the fish all the way up to the tip of the rod and pop! off it fell. Exhilarating!
What does being a part of TU mean to you?
It means being involved in a special community of people who share my passion to protect our rivers, streams, and lakes. It also means that I get to organize amazing projects like the Fraser Flats River Habitat Project. Not only do I love being on the local TU board, I love attending events TU puts on. We have great support for TU here in Grand County.
Beyond being an awesome angler, what else do you do in your spare time or for work?
Besides working at Colorado Headwaters Land Trust, I love to play outdoors. My favorite activities are backpacking and gardening. But, in the past few years I have started getting into rafting. I think my boyfriend only taught me how to row so he could fish all day while I moved us downriver. Some of my favorite rafting trips have been the Smith River in Montana and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho.