Habitat

Colorado leaders join bipartisan rally to help save LWCF

LWCFCoalition.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2018

CONTACT: Justin Bartolomeo

(202) 789-4365

jbartolomeo@hdmk.org

Bipartisan Conservation Champions Rally to Save LWCF by Year’s End

Washington, D.C. – Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) champions in the House and Senate rallied on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with conservation leaders and outdoor recreation advocates today calling on Congress to reauthorize and fully fund America’s most important conservation and recreation program before the end of the year.

"Two months ago, America lost one of its best conservation tools,” said Lynn Scarlett, Former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior and head of External Affairs at The Nature Conservancy. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps protect national parks, expand outdoor recreation opportunities and bolster local economies, all at no cost to the American taxpayer. It’s too important to continue leaving its future in doubt. Now more than ever, we have the bipartisan momentum to get LWCF the permanent reauthorization and full funding it deserves. For the protection of our lands, waters and the benefits their conservation bring to communities and our economy, now is the time to save LWCF.”

“Colorado’s beautiful public lands rely on the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Congress needs to ensure it remains in place for years to come,” said Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). “I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we do what is right and permanently reauthorize and fully fund this vital outdoors conservation program.”

“The expiration of a widely popular program like LWCF demonstrates just how broken Washington is. If we don’t want to find ourselves in this exact position again down the road, we must permanently reauthorize LWCF. And if we want to grow our outdoor recreation economy and protect treasured landscapes, we must fully fund it. I’ll keep working across the aisle to find a solution that gives this conservation tool the longevity and funding it deserves,” said Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO).

“Since it was enacted 54 years ago, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect many of the nation’s most popular national parks, forests, and public lands. It has provided millions of Americans the opportunity to hunt, fish, hike, vacation and enjoy the beauty of nature and our great American landscapes,” said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “It has pumped billions of dollars into the outdoor economy and provided millions of good jobs.

“Protecting our public lands is good for the environment, it’s good for the economy and it’s good for the health and welfare of our people. Money made available through the Land and Water Conservation Fund is money well spent,” Senator Cantwell added.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund remains the single most successful conservation program in American history,” said Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). “Nearly every congressional district in the country benefits from its funding – at no cost to the taxpayer – and millions enjoy the parks, ballfields, and landscapes it maintains every day. My colleagues and I will continue to push for a permanent reauthorization of this important program.

About the Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America’s most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, trails, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local level. For more than 50 years, it has provided critical funding for land and water conservation projects, access to recreation including hunting and fishing, and the continued historic preservation of our nation’s iconic landmarks from coast-to-coast. LWCF does not use any taxpayer dollars – it is funded using a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments. Outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation activities contribute more than $887 billion annually to the U.S. economy, supporting 7.6 million jobs.

About the LWCF Coalition

The LWCF Coalition is comprised of more than 1,000 state and regional conservation and recreation organizations of all sizes, land owners, small businesses, ranchers, sportsmen, veterans, the outdoor recreation industry and conservationists working together to protect America’s public lands and safeguard our shared outdoor heritage for future generations. The Coalition is united in its advocacy for the permanent reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which will ensure the continued conservation of our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness, civil war battlefields, working lands and state and local parks. For more information on LWCF and the places in each state that LWCF funds have protected, visit www.lwcfcoalition.org.

Request for Proposals: Fish Passage and Ditch Diversion Improvement

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Trout Unlimited (TU), in coordination with the Town of Granby (Town), Grand County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is soliciting Proposals for Design Services for a diversion structure on the Fraser River in Granby, Colorado.  Proposals shall be received by TU via U.S. Mail and email by no later than January 4, 2019 at 5:00 pm at the following address:

Mely Whiting

P.O. Box 1544

Pagosa Springs, CO 81147

mwhiting@tu.org

Intent to submit a proposal shall be submitted via email to Mely Whiting at mwhiting@tu.org by December 21, 2018.  Only those contractors that submit an “intent to submit proposals” will be considered for a final proposal. The intent to submit proposal should list the primary contact and their contact information.

Consulting services shall be led by a primary Contractor, whose team should include appropriate fish passage engineers/scientists, river modeling and scour analysis experts, ditch diversion designers, and experience in water rights related to ditch diversions in Colorado. Contractor selection will be made through a combination of Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) and Cost Based Processes as described in this Request for Proposals (RFP). Please refer to the following sections for details on the project, conditions, schedule, proposal requirements, and selection process.

QUESTIONS and ONSITE FIELD VISIT

An onsite, field visit will occur on November 28, 2018 to answer questions about the project aspects.  Interested contractors are highly encouraged to attend.  Please meet at the Town of Granby Town Hall, Zero Jasper Avenue, Granby, Colorado at 2:00 pm on November 28, 2018. All questions relating to this RFP should be addressed to Mely Whiting by email, at mwhiting@tu.org.  Questions are due in writing by no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 5, 2018.  All questions will be addressed in one batch with answers sent out to all recipients by December 14, 2018.

IMPORTANT DATES:

  • November 14, 2018 Request For Proposals Announced

  • November 28, 2018 2:00pm Onsite Field Visit and Answer Questions at the Town of Grandby Town Hall

  • December 5, 2018 5:00pm All Questions due in writing by December to Mely Whiting by email, at mwhiting@tu.org

  • December 21, 2018 Intent to submit a proposal shall be submitted via email to Mely Whiting at mwhiting@tu.org

  • January 4, 2018 at 5:00pm Proposals shall be receivd by TU via U.S. Mail and email by no later than at the following address:

    Mely Whiting

    P.O. Box 1544

    Pagosa Springs, CO 81147

    mwhiting@tu.org

    Please download the full proposal details and requirements by clicking the button below:

Hermosa 416 Fire Update: Spreading into Native Colorado River Cutthroat Trout habitat

High Quality map available for download  here .

High Quality map available for download here.

Update from National TU Staffer, Ty Churchwell, San Juan Mountains Coordinator & Sportsmen’s Conservation Project:

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The 416 fire that started June 1, 2018 located 13 miles north of Durango, CO is currently over 35,000 acres large and is at 36% contained as of June 27, 2018 (seen in red outline & fill). Currently, the fire has encroached upon a large section of an isolated native cutthroat population along Clear Creek (traced with blue in the bottom left corner). You can see that most of that drainage has been hit. Clear Creek has been hit hard and currently burning more.

The middle-left creek, Big Bend, also highlighted in blue is currently an isolated population of native cutthroats that are held safe from invasives by a natural waterfall. The other blue lines at the top of the map indicated where the reintroduction program waters are. The basin continues north along with the reintroduction program, but the map cuts off about 1/4 of that. The reintroduction program and Big Bend are clear of fire right now. 

It’s mostly burning back on itself with about 100 acres of additional acreage in recent days.  There are two hot spots:  1) very near/at Clear Creek’s top end.  2)  in the interior of Hermosa burning NW towards Big Bend.  

Currently, updates are being posted on the 416 Facebook page here.

Volunteers make way for Greenback trout recovery efforts along Rock Creek

Volunteers working to dislodge a disruptive beaver dam along Rock Creek drainage in Colorado. Image courtesy of:  Basin+Bend . 

Volunteers working to dislodge a disruptive beaver dam along Rock Creek drainage in Colorado. Image courtesy of: Basin+Bend

On June 21, 2018, volunteers and Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff met between Fairplay and Grant, CO to work on helping take down beaver dams along the Rock Creek drainage. The Rock Creek drainage is a critical piece of the Greenback recovery puzzle and will provide nearly eight miles of connected stream habitat once the project is completed.  With the help of Trout Unlimited volunteers and chapters, agency partners, and private landowners, there are 4.5 miles of stream that are currently being prepared for greenback reintroduction in the next 2-3 years.  The project below will help make progress on the remaining 3.4 miles of critical habitat.

Last Thursday, volunteers focused on removing beaver dams from sections of the Rock Creek drainage in order to help CPW treat the area for Whirling Disease and non-native brook trout. Volunteers hiked up about a mile and used various tools to help dislodge the dams that were blocking creek flows. A huge thank you to all the volunteers for all their hard work, which resulted in the second scheduled day of work not being needed! Nice job, everyone! If you are interested in future projects, we have upcoming ones listed here

To learn more about Native trout and restoration projects across Colorado check out our page here. Check out the great pictures taken by Erik Myhre of Basin+Bend in Evergreen, CO. 

Pictures courtesy of Basin+Bend

VIDEO: Reintroduction of Native Greenback Trout in Estes Park, CO

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Join Alpine Anglers Trout Unlimited Chapter as they head out to the Big Thompson for a day of fishing. Learn about the important work going on in the area in regards to habitat restoration to help with the reintroduction of native Greenback Cutthroat Trout. Check out the great video below and learn more about what the chapter is doing here.

Learn about fishing the Big Thompson and other waters surrounding Estes Park, Colorado, along with the reintroduction of the Greenback Cutthroat Trout.

Fun Fact Friday: Oh, the mighty Colorado River

Fun Fact Friday: Oh, the mighty Colorado River! Its history is quite impressive as it broke through the Grand Canyon about 5 million years ago. Evidence also suggests that the Colorado River was flowing through the Rocky Mountains as they were still forming. This river has influenced much of the beautiful geology we see across the west today. All along the Colorado River system, anglers can find largemouth bass, rainbow trout, channel catfish, black crappie, walleye and striped bass. If you have not checked out the interview we did with Kirk Klancke, president of the Colorado River Headwaters TU Chapter, about restoring flows to one of the first main tributaries of the Colorado River, then be sure to check it out here.

Save Bristol Bay!

  Pebble Limited Partnerships recently applied for one of the major permits they’ll need to mine in Bristol Bay. Filing that application is huge news because it brings their catastrophic proposal one step closer to becoming a reality. Now, we have the first chance for you to weigh in on this process.

Pebble Limited Partnerships wants to develop an open-pit mine in southwest Alaska, approximately 17 miles west/northwest of the villages of Iliamna, Newhalen, and Nondalton. They also are proposing a 188-mile natural gas pipeline from the Kenai Peninsula across the Cook Inlet to the mine site as their proposed energy source. These developments would dramatically affect Bristol Bay’s fisheries which are critical to Alaska's economy and culture.  Speak up and let The Army Corps of Engineers know that we should protect Bristol Bay, and the businesses and communities these waters support.

Add your name and comment below to tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reject Pebble's proposal as incomplete. Feel free to edit the suggested content. Click the button to take action!

Hitchhikers NOT welcome

 

We have been dealing with invasive species since humans starting transporting goods across land and sea. Many species that we think of as natives might just be an original hitchhiker from a long time ago. Sometimes these things happen by accident when something snags a ride with an unsuspecting host or species are brought in on purpose. Why are invasives such a problem? Well, when a species is introduced to a new area, it usually has all the advantages in the world. They are likely to not have any predators and that provides them the opportunity to eat, populate quickly, and encroach on other's habitats. By the time all the original habitants catch up on who the new species is, the new guys have already established themselves and have depleted much of the area's resources.

In Colorado, we have been lucky to not be plagued with the aquatic invasives that the Great Lakes area has seen, but with increased tourism and boating the state is becoming more worried about an unstoppable outbreak of the invasive species. Testing is done regularly on Colorado's bodies of water and there have been positive results for mussels. New legislation has been making its way through the State Senate and House entitled the Mussel Free Colorado Act HB18-1008, with hopes to combat the fast-spreading is invasive mussels.

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[1] Zebra and quagga mussels pose a great ecological and financial threat to the state.  The invasion of these mussels can affect every Coloradoan and visitors in some way and the impacts could be devastating. Potential impacts include:

  • Prolific reproduction
  • Clog water infrastructure
  • Ecological impacts
  • Recreational impacts
  • Economic impacts
  • Social impacts
  • Difficult or impossible to eradicate
  • Quick spread to new waters

[2] Both adult zebra mussels and the larval form, known as veligers, can be transported into other bodies of water. Adult zebra mussels can attach to boats or other equipment and be transported to new waters.

Adult zebra mussels are able to close their shell and may survive out of water for several days.

Veligers (larval zebra mussels) are able to hitchhike in water held in the bilge, live wells, motors, or bait buckets, or they may cling to plant fragments, boats or trailers, or other equipment or recreational items that came into contact with water.

You can’t always see zebra mussels because the larvae are invisible to the naked eye. They can survive for days in water trapped in a boat. The only way to be sure you’re not carrying zebra mussels to another body of water is to always Clean -  Drain - Dry your boat, trailer, and gear. To minimize the potential spread of zebra mussels, follow these simple steps:

  • CLEAN: your boat, trailer and gear by removing all plants, animals and foreign objects.
  • DRAIN: all water from the boat, including the motor, bilge, live wells and bait buckets, before leaving the lake.
  • DRY: boat, trailer and gear at least 5 days before entering another water body. If unable to let it dry for at least 5 days, rinse equipment and watercraft (with high pressure, hot water when possible) and wipe with a towel before reuse.
  • DISPOSE of unwanted live bait and worms in the trash.
  • NEVER introduce fish, plants, crayfish, snails or clams from one body of water to another.

Keep yourself updated about potential invasives threats in Colorado:

Yelling at storm clouds

A few days ago, I found myself standing in my yard yelling “Yeah, c’mon!?” while shaking my fist at a rather feeble-looking storm cloud. Now, I normally reserve this type of a pointless weekend lunacy for Broncos games and the like, but considering the dire state of the snowpack in the Colorado River Basin, including my home watershed of the Uncompahgre basin—the reaction seemed appropriate. Beyond the obvious lack of snow in my front yard, I'm seeing a seemingly endless chain of news stories highlighting lack of snow, record low river flows and, perhaps worst of all, dire projections that long-term weather trends won’t provide respite—all serving to fuel my anxiety about the summer to come.

Droughts of years past have taken a serious toll on important fisheries and inflicted economic pain and hardship on water users of all stripes who depend on diverting water for their livelihoods and quality of life. These periods of shortage have also taught us valuable lessons about reacting to and preparing for drought in the West.

One of those lessons is about the importance of working together on our water challenges.

Throughout the basin, Trout Unlimited and water users are partnering on innovative strategies to address water supply shortfalls while protecting rivers and streams. For instance, TU is helping irrigation districts and the water users they serve in the Gunnison Basin improve irrigation infrastructure on and off the farm to reduce system losses, thereby improving stream flows on important tributaries like the Cimarron River.

TU has also been at the forefront of water planning efforts in Colorado that identify needs of both the environment and water users and establish watershed-specific approaches to reducing the impacts of drought.

In another innovative approach, TU is working closely with agricultural producers in the Upper Colorado River Basin through a pilot project that reimburses water users who voluntarily reduce consumptive water use through fallowing, partial fallowing or switching from high to low water-use crops. The program, known as the System Conservation Pilot Program, or SCPP, aims to improve flows on Upper Basin tributaries in a manner that not only helps reduce supply gaps at Lake Powell but also improves important fisheries.

With all the water uncertainty, there’s one thing we can be certain of—this drought period won’t be the last. In fact, scientists say it’s likely that the Colorado River Basin will be facing a drier and more variable climate—all the more reason why scaling up collaborative conservation and efficiency efforts now, regardless of the snowpack levels, is critical to preparing for future drought and protecting our valuable watersheds and all that they support.

Working together, we are finding solutions that can help buffer the impacts of drought years and keep our rivers and fisheries healthy.

And that’s surely more effective than yelling at clouds.

By Cary Denison

Cary Denison is TU’s project coordinator in the Gunnison Basin.

Blog Post via Trout Unlimited.

Colorado voters consider themselves to be conservationists - Not a surprise to us.

A new bipartisan study, the Conservation in the West Poll, was released January 25, 2018 by the State of the Rockies Project, in conjunction with Lori Weigel, Public Opinion Strategies and Dave Metz, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, and Metz & Associates. The survey, conducted in eight western states, explores bi-partisan opinions in each state and for the Rocky Mountain West region concerning conservation, environment, energy, the role of government, trade-offs with economies, and citizen priorities. The survey now includes polling in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Colorado College in Colorado Springs has released all of the polls publications broken up by state, topic, and additional reports about Sportsmen and Agriculture. You can go through them all here, but we are going to take you through some of the most interesting results.

One demographic that we are very familiar with is those who identify as a sportsman or woman. The poll found that 79% are the most likely vote sub-group to identify as a conservationist which is a 4% increase from last year. Among that voter group, 58% preferred that the Trump Administration would focus on protecting clean water, air quality, and wildlife habitats on public lands.

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In relation to the recent national monuments and public lands reductions happening to Utah's Grand Staircase and Bear's Ears, a majority of those who identify as a hunter or angler found this to be a largely bad idea and that any future reductions or stripping of other Monuments was also a bad idea. 

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Currently, there is legislation around our national monuments and you can speak up against it with our current action alert. 

Another demographic that is extremely involved in the water issues of Colorado are voters who identify as being part of a rural or small town. Now some might think they don't share the same values as those in the growing cities of the Front Range, but that notion couldn't be farther from the truth. Rural communities overwhelmingly share similar values in regards to conservation, development, and public lands.

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And to sum up the state's opinions as a whole, below is an infographic showing the support for different initiatives regarding water conservation, national monuments, and outdoor recreation. If you would like a closer look at the reports shown here or any of the images in this post, see the links at the bottom of the page.

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Takeaway from the Data

The results of this poll are encouraging and also not unexpected. As part of Trout Unlimited, we know that our members who identify as sportsmen/women, farmers, activists, and outdoor recreationists are and have always been conservationists. This poll just further proves that we are a strong majority of people who believe in the future of clean water, access to public lands, and healthy fisheries. We stand together as a collaborative and influential community that puts conservation first.

Resources and References:

  1. Conservation in the West 2018 Report - Sportsmen
  2. Conservation in the West 2018 Report - Rural
  3. Conservation in the West 2018 Report - Colorado Infographic
  4. Conservation in the West 2018 Report - All Materials & Reports