conservation

Colorado Trout Unlimited Applauds Progress to Save LWCF

Senate passes bill to restore the Land and Water Conservation Fund and protect special places

(Feb. 12, 2019) Denver, CO. – The United States Senate has voted to advance S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act. Importantly, the bipartisan legislation permanently authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which has been expired since September 30. The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives where supporters are urging quick passage.

 

“Even when this hugely successful program was falling victim to Washington’s partisan dysfunction, Senators Bennet and Gardner never stopped working to secure its passage. We deeply appreciate their unflagging commitment to investing in Colorado’s public lands and outdoor recreation,” said David Nickum, Executive Director of Colorado Trout Unlimited.  

 

Gunnison Gorge, CO Picture from: Unsplash.com

Gunnison Gorge, CO Picture from: Unsplash.com

For over half a century, LWCF has used a portion of federal offshore energy revenues — at no cost to taxpayers — to conserve our lands, water, and open spaces and protect the outdoor recreation opportunities they offer. LWCF has invested over $268 million in Colorado, helping to secure access and conserve special places, across the state, including the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and boat launches on the Colorado River.

 

“We still need to fully fund LWCF and we’ll continue working toward that end, but permanent authorization is an enormous accomplishment for all who have working tirelessly on this issue,” said Scott Willoughby, Colorado Field Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “In addition to LWCF, there are dozens of bipartisan provisions across the country that will help sustain our public land heritage, including new Wilderness areas, Wild and Scenic River sections and National Conservation Areas. This is one of the most important pieces of public lands legislation in recent memory and we urge the House of Representatives to quickly pass this bill.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

Feb. 12, 2019

Contacts: 

David Nickum, Colorado Trout Unlimited 

303-440-2937 x1 dnickum@tu.org

 

Scott Willoughby, Trout Unlimited

970-390-3676 swilloughby@tu.org  


###


Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and TwitterInstagram and our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation.

 

The Thompson Divide: Standing at the Summit

Photo: Trout Unlimited www.tu.org

Photo: Trout Unlimited www.tu.org

Excerpt from Aspen Times, read the full article here.

By Scott Willoughby

In a landlocked rise of rock and ice, Thompson Divide flows like a vein of Colorado gold. This vast sweep of lustrous aspen groves and lush conifer forests surrounded by the iconic sentinel of Mount Sopris, the towering Elk Mountains, rugged Ragged Wilderness and verdant Grand Mesa is flanked by open, grassy meadows and cool, clean trout streams offering a treasure of precious, wild habitat. The 221,000-acre backcountry expanse serves as one of the most pristine natural environments in the West, and among the most deserving of preservation.

Described as a "Colorado Crown Jewel" by Gov. John Hickenlooper himself, the rolling, mid-elevation backcountry is home to a rare combination of natural and recreational resources in the heart one the nation's most popular outdoor playgrounds. Because it supports recreation, ranching and other local industries, the Thompson Divide produces an estimated 300 jobs and pumps more than $30 million into the local economy, much of it during the fall harvest and hunting seasons when the hillsides bustle with life.

Critical keystone habitat supports some of the state's largest herds of Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer and dozens of other species benefiting from one of the densest concentrations of roadless areas in the West. Native cutthroat trout line the vital cold water streams and ponds that continue to serve as a water source for the husky bruins once hunted by conservation champion President Theodore Roosevelt more than 100 years ago.

A new chapter was added to this storied landscape recently when a coalition of local government officials, businesses, ranchers, sportsmen and citizen groups successfully orchestrated the cancellation of 25 oil and gas drilling leases improperly issued in the early 2000s within Thompson Divide's boundaries and settled a lawsuit challenging the cancellation last summer. The leases covered more than 21,000 acres (about 33 square miles), featuring prime big game habitat and native cutthroat trout streams in watersheds providing source water to the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers, as well as local communities.

But the battle is far from won. Keep reading.

Can’t access the full article, try on Trout Unlimited.

SOLD: To the highest bidder

Recently Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited, gave a passionate call to reclaim conservation as a true conservative value.  Read the full op-ed below, which has been reposted from the Denver Post.

Untitled_design__281_29_d786ba40587470ebfd12829938bdf943.jpg

Wanted: A conservative conservation agenda

Making public lands available for sale to the highest bidder is not conservative, Chris Wood writes

"A month ago, a fishing buddy in Utah called me in a lather. His senator, Republican Mike Lee, had just used the existence of public lands to compare present-day Utahns to the mistreated subjects of England’s Medieval royal forests. “Their houses were razed and their historic rights trampled!” Lee proclaimed. He promised to introduce legislation to sell, transfer, or otherwise divest of our public lands — our national forests, our national monuments, even, perhaps, our national parks.

My friend couldn’t understand it.

“What is going on with Senator Lee?” he asked. “I have been a Republican my whole life, and there is nothing conservative about transferring public lands from public ownership.”

My friend’s views are by no means uncommon. They aren’t just shared by the overwhelming majority of anglers in my organization, Trout Unlimited, where Republicans and Independents outnumber Democrats by a 2-to-1 margin. They are also shared by a whopping 97 percent of sportsmen and women–including 73 percent of those who voted for President Trump in 2016, according to a recent survey.

The words conservation and conservative share the same Latin root: “conservare,” meaning to keep or hold in a safe state.

Making public lands available for sale to the highest bidder is not conservative. It’s reckless.

It was conservative politicians who largely created the rich fabric of public lands that make America the envy of the world, and that Sen. Lee’s proposals would diminish.

Pictured: President Theodore Roosevelt. Wikipedia Commons.

Pictured: President Theodore Roosevelt. Wikipedia Commons.

In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant named 2 million acres of land in the northwest corner of the Wyoming territory, Yellowstone, the world’s first national park. President Theodore Roosevelt protected 230 million acres of public land and created the U.S. Forest Service to promote the “wise use” of national forests. President Nixon signed into law the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. President H. W. Bush strengthened the Clean Air Act and helped solve the scourge of acid rain.

All these men were, of course, Republican presidents.

What our nation needs today from true conservatives is reaffirmation of a conservative conservation agenda, a set of commonsense policies (such as protection of public lands and clean water) that all Americans can rally behind. This agenda would be guided by a few key principles that should strike a chord with right-leaning Americans:

Where taxpayer dollars are spent, they should be leveraged and spent efficiently. Spending that encourages private philanthropy and state funding should be a priority. For example, in Pennsylvania over the past decade, my organization received approximately $1 million in Chesapeake Bay Program funding and used that to leverage an additional $4 million in investment from private philanthropists and state programs.

The most durable efforts are local. Government is more effective at a local level. So, too, with conservation. Witness then-Gov. Jim Risch — another Republican, by the way — leading a collaborative process in 2006 to protect nearly 9 million acres of public land in his state of Idaho.

Address issues before they become festering problems. Anticipating opportunities is more effective than cleaning up messes. For example, Congress should act on a bill to treat renewable energy development on public lands as a leasable mineral, just like oil and gas, thereby creating a revenue stream for states and counties, and to support restoration work. Demand for renewable energy on public lands is low today, but it will not be in 20 years.

Public efforts should be in the service of critical social needs. Reconnecting rivers to their floodplains, getting rid of obsolete dams, and repairing culverts is great for the fish we anglers love to catch, but it also protects communities and infrastructure from flooding while providing thousands of family-wage jobs. Proactively addressing these risks is fiscally conservative: Every $1 invested in disaster preparedness saves $6 in disaster recovery costs.

Progress is possible. A prime example: Without a single dissenting vote, the House of Representatives last year passed a bill that would make it easier for local communities, mining companies, and nonprofits to clean up abandoned coal mines. The Senate should follow the leadership of nearly the entire Colorado delegation, and support a bill that extends that idea to apply to the clean-up of the tens of thousands of abandoned gold and silver mines in the West that are polluting many of our headwaters.

Conservation is the single most optimistic and affirmative idea that conservatives gave America. What could be more conservative than taking collective action today to make the world a better place for our kids tomorrow?"

Chris Wood is president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, which is dedicated to protecting, conserving, and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.

Doom and Gloom, but what can I do?

dry-soil-1775246_1920_0d9a136786c5fdac9be978631016f2c5.jpg

Drought is plaguing most of Colorado and pretty much everywhere in the southwest. Every summer, it feels like we are saying the same thing and warning everyone about not enough snowpack melt, low flows and warming waters. Whether you are a native, transplant, or visitor to this great state - we can all do something to make a difference in conserving our scarce water sources. 

Most of these ideas are easy to do, while some take practice. Even just adopting one strategy to conserve water, can make a difference. Feel free to leave a comment about your ideas as well!

bitcoin-faucet-1728106_960_720.jpg

1. When brushing your teeth or shaving try not to the let faucet run. Need water? Fill up the sink instead to rinse your razor and turn off the faucet between brushing.

2. Most dishwashers do not require any pre-rinsing, especially if they are relatively new. Instead, scrape off any food (preferably into compost) then run the cycle when the dishwasher is full. Some dishwashers even have a "water saver" cycle you can try.

3. Are you still rinsing your produce under the faucet? Try filling a bowl or tub to rinse them in and reuse the water on your houseplants or garden outside. 

4. Try using a broom to clean off sidewalks, driveways, patios, or decks instead of the hose.

5. Tired of mowing the lawn? Check out xeriscaping alternatives to replace or reduce the amount of grass in your yard. If you do need to mow, keep the trim length minimal to reduce evaporation and increase soil moisture retention which will reduce your need to water it. Having longer grass will help it grow a stronger root system and increase it's drought and pest tolerance.

6. Are you still trout fishing when the water is climbing above 65 degrees? Giving fish a break can increase their chances of surviving during this stressful time. Check out our handy water temperature thermometer for trout.

There are plenty of ways to conserve water in the west and with the rise of energy and resource saving standards in our appliances and home systems, it's becoming easier and easier to use less water without even thinking about it. If you are interested in learning more about the innovative ideas out there regarding water conservation, check out the links below. Colorado's rivers and the trout that live in them will thank you!

Resources & Other Water Saving Tips

Water Conservation in the Home

Rain Barrels in Colorado 

What is greywater? How is it used?

Greywater Opt-in Colorado Legislation

Water Conservation across Colorado

Xeriscaping in Colorado: Budgeting, Design, How to

Free Xeriscaping Plans & Plant Suggestions

 

Celebrating the Colorado River

Celebrate with us by  sharing  the graphic above. 

Celebrate with us by sharing the graphic above. 

The Colorado River is said to be one of the most important water sources in the west, as it contributes to 7 different states' watersheds. July 25 marks the special day that we all use to celebrate this river.  As part of the celebration, storytellers throughout the basin share how important the river is to their community below:

Youth get outdoors at the river conservation and fly fishing camp

P1000146.JPG

ALMONT, CO – Have you ever wanted to learn more about the lifecycles of aquatic insects? Or new techniques for fly tying and casting? Perhaps you have always wanted to tour a fish hatchery, or learn more about river conservation. Well, sixteen youth had that very opportunity this past month. From June 10 to June 16, teens from across Colorado came together at the Silent Spring Resort in Almont, CO, for the 10th Annual Colorado TU Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp.

IMG_1820.JPG

Organized by CTU staff and volunteers, the week-long camp offers unique, hands-on opportunities to learn about bugs, hydrology, fly-tying, casting, knots, reading water, and safe wading techniques. This year, campers also enjoyed presentations from outside speakers that included: water law, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, a tour of ranch land near Gothic, CO by the Crested Butte Land Trust, and a walk-through of the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery. The week was capped off with a willow-planting project on the Gunnison River, some great fishing, and a private screening of the Fly Fishing Film Tour, made possible by Mayfly Media.

20180612_123754.jpg

In addition to becoming better anglers, these young adults learned the importance of conservation and the impact it has on their favorite waters. Campers also made life-long friends and connected with a whole new watershed. The CTU Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp has now completed a decade of getting youth out on the water and teaching the next generation of anglers. We are proud to see so many students returning year after year as counselors, sharing what they learned and inspiring their peers.

This camp would not be possible without the generous support of our chapters and partners. We would especially like to thank the Silent Spring Resort and staff for your amazing hospitality and great venue, the Colorado Rod Makers Reunion, the CTU River Stewardship Council, the Sharon Lance Youth Fund, and Mayfly Media. You can see more pictures from the camp by visiting: https://coloradotu.org/youth-conservation-and-fly-fishing-camp

For more information about the 2019 CTU Youth Conversation and Fly Fishing Camp, please contact Dan Omasta, domasta@tu.org.