epa

The irreplaceable river: How George H.W. Bush's EPA administrator saved the South Platte

South Platte/Deckers Flyfisher. 2019 Picture by: Annie Smith/CTU

South Platte/Deckers Flyfisher. 2019 Picture by: Annie Smith/CTU

REPOST from the Gazette:

By: Paul Klee | Mar 4, 2019

Thank you, William K. Reilly.

Thank you for saving our river from drowning.

Reilly, now 79, is the former Environmental Protection Agency administrator who vetoed the Two Forks project that in 1990 sought to dam the South Platte upstream from the one stop sign in the mountain town of Deckers.

“It was all systems go,” Reilly said last week, and the 20 miles of irreplaceable trout habitat where hundreds of kids like me learned to fly fish would be nothing more than a sad bedtime story.

This fragile, world-class trout fishery would have been flooded below the 615-foot Two Forks dam, a structure roughly the size of Hoover Dam. Twenty-five miles southwest of Denver and 42 miles northwest from Colorado Springs, six towns and a priceless outdoor recreation area would have been washed away.

So thank you.

“How’s the river doing, anyway?” Reilly asked before his keynote speech for Colorado Trout Unlimited’s annual River Stewardship Gala here Thursday.

Really well, considering. The Hayman fire was rough on everybody, and the trout populations are gradually returning. But here’s the real catch: At least this stretch of river still exists.

Thanks to Reilly.

As Reilly told it from his home in San Francisco, the Two Forks dam was “a foregone conclusion from every angle” when the late George H.W. Bush hired him as head of the EPA in 1989.

“You don’t bring the World Wildlife president into the EPA to just sit there. You want drive, action,” Reilly said. “I was determined in my authority to make him the environmental president.”

Continue reading the full story on the Gazette here.

Calling all River Enthusiasts: This is your sneak peek!

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The Colorado TU River Stewardship Gala is the largest celebration of Colorado’s rivers and world-class fishing opportunities. In 2018, nearly 400 guests helped to raise over $100,000 for Colorado TU’s conservation efforts throughout the state. Funds from the River Stewardship Gala go towards CTU’s work in youth education, protecting statewide instream flows and temperature, reintroducing and protecting native trout, and preserving and restoring the state’s fisheries and their watersheds.

This year, Colorado TU is celebrating its 50th anniversary and we will be honoring William Reilly, the former EPA Administrator who vetoed Two Forks Dam and helped spawn new, more collaborative approaches to water management, with the 2019 River Stewardship Award. Join us at the Gala and support our work for healthy rivers and fish in Colorado! (P.S. Tickets have sold out over the past 3 years!)

Auction Sneak Peek

50th Anniversary Custom Sarabella Rod and Abel Reel

This year’s gala will be featuring a one-of-a-kind custom Colorado Trout Unlimited 50th anniversary SaraBella Fishing rod and custom 50th anniversary Abel reel - two Colorado companies partnering with Colorado TU to celebrate 50 years of protecting rivers! This custom 9’ 6 weight fly rod featuring a curvy grip, natural finish, native juniper reel seat, a blue to green body, custom silver 50th CTU logo and tagline, and a fighting butt to land all those trophy fish in style. (see in pictures above)

Fly Fishing Adventure of a Lifetime in New Zealand

 

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New Zealand is famed for its beauty and the quality of fly fishing you can enjoy!  This package for two includes five days of guided fly fishing – one of which is a helicopter trip into remote New Zealand backcountry – with seven nights accommodations, breakfast and lunch provided daily, and roundtrip airfare from San Francisco to New Zealand.  This is the fly fishing adventure you’ve been waiting for!  www.distantwatersnz.com

Want to getaway in March?  Distant Waters has one spot open on an amazing New Zealand fly fishing adventure.  The trip starts March 6th, 2019 and is discounted exclusively for Colorado TU supporters.  Learn more here.

 



Fish and Stay along Montana’s Fabled Madison River!

 

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Situated on the banks of the Madison River just 3 miles north of Ennis, Montana, anglers are offered unparalleled access to all the best blue-ribbon fly fishing in southwestern Montana. This getaway for 2 includes luxury accommodations for 2 nights, delicious meals including streamside lunch and gourmet dinners, and a full day of guided fishing on the Madison. The lucky winner of this trip will be “just a cast away” from their finest Montana fishing experience ever!  www.madisonvalleyranch.com

 

Experience a true Colorado Dude Ranch

 

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Enjoy an unforgettable Colorado guest ranch experience at Lost Valley Ranch!  The winner of this all-inclusive Dude Ranch Vacation package will enjoy a weekend getaway for 2, including lodging, meals, and a variety of outdoor activities.  Nestled among the beauty of Pike National Forest and just 70 miles southwest of Denver, Lost Valley Ranch is a great place to escape for a fun-filled weekend!  www.lostvalleyranch.com

But wait, there’s more:

  • 6-day, 5-night float trip for 2 on the Middle Fork of the Salmon from Middle Fork Adventures

  • "A Diamond Takes Shape Slowly" – framed artist print by Judy Haas of Telluride

  • 3-day, 2-night stay at the Flat Tops Wilderness Camp plus guided fishing for 2 from Ripple Creek Lodge

  • Full-day walk/wade for 2 on your favorite Southwestern Colorado river with Duranglers

  • Green River gear bag and Thunderhead submersible backpack from Fishpond

  • Full-day walk/wade for 2 on waters near Sheridan, Wyoming with Rock Creek Anglers

  • Bring three of your friends and brew your own beer with Horse and Dragon Brewing

  • Two nights lodging in a Breckenridge condo plus a float fishing trip on a private put-in on the Colorado River from Mountain Angler

EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers aim to cut protections for thousands of streams

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Proposal leaves important drinking water sources and habitat unprotected from pollution 

For immediate release 

Dec. 11, 2018 

Contact: 
Steve Moyer, steve.moyer@tu.org, (571) 274-0593
Vice President of Government Affairs

Shauna Stephenson, shauna.stephenson@tu.org (307) 757-7861
National Communications Director

(Dec. 11, 2018) WASHINGTON D.C. -- Trout Unlimited announced its strong opposition to the proposed rollback of protections for thousands of miles of streams and many wetlands today by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The proposal outlines an ill-conceived approach to applying the Clean Water Act by eliminating protection for thousands of stream miles in the country – streams that supply drinking water for millions of Americans. It also erases protections for thousands of acres of wetlands, a critical component to a functioning watersheds. 

 The proposal will deregulate a host of development activities, such as pipeline construction that will, over time, degrade hunting and fishing opportunities in every state in the country. 

“Today’s proposal is so far off track that you cannot see the track from where this proposal landed,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “Headwater streams, especially ephemeral streams, are like the capillaries in our bodies – they're small and easy to overlook, but we wouldn’t last long without them. It is a fundamentally flawed proposal.” 

Polls show Americans overwhelmingly support protections for clean water and the Clean Water Act. 

“The Agencies’ proposal turns its back on the importance of small headwater streams to healthy waterways and sportfishing recreation," said Steve Moyer, vice president of government affairs for Trout Unlimited.  “Sportsmen and women know that we all live downstream. All the benefits of our larger streams, rivers, and bays are dependent on the health of our small streams.” 

Using the Clean Water Act to protect headwater streams is especially valuable to Trout Unlimited. At a basic level, 59 percent of rivers and stream miles in the lower 48 states are intermittent or ephemeral (i.e., they are small or headwater streams that do not flow year-round). However, in the drier southwest, that figure is higher. In Arizona, 96 percent of the waters are intermittent or ephemeral streams. EPA Region 8, consisting of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas, estimates that only 17 percent of the waters in its states flow year-round.   

Headwater streams contribute to the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans, protect communities from flooding, and provide essential fish and wildlife habitat that support a robust outdoor recreation economy worth $887 billion.  

“Clean water is not a political issue. It is a basic right of every American,” Wood said. “To be effective, the Clean Water Act must be able to control pollution at its source -- upstream in the headwaters and wetlands that flow downstream through communities to our major lakes, rivers, and bays. We urge the Agencies to reconsider their flawed proposal and remember the very purpose of the Clean Water Act.” 

Frequently asked questions: 

How Did We Get Here?  

When the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, it protected virtually all of America’s waters--every type of stream, wetland, river, lake or bay. A 2001 Supreme Court decision first questioned if all wetlands and streams should in fact be protected--and the issue has become ever-more politicized since then. 

In 2015, under President Obama, the EPA finalized a rule (the Clean Water Rule) clarifying that the Clean Water Act protects all of our nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands. The rule gained strong support from sportsmen, scientists and the public, but it was opposed by a powerful coalition of agriculture and development interests  

What’s happening now? 

Early in 2017, President Trump directed the EPA to first rescind and then replace the Clean Water Rule. The Administration’s efforts to rescind the 2015 Rule have partially blocked, as the 2015 Rule is in effect in 22 states. The new proposal, unveiled today, is an unwarranted effort to replace the 2015 Rule. The new proposal is NOT based in science and is NOT consistent with the goals of the Clean Water Act. The new rollback proposal will undermine long standing protections for wetlands and small streams, it will harm hunting and fishing in America. 

Why should sportsmen care? 

The Clean Water Act and the 2015 Rule are vital to TU’s work and to anglers across the nation. Whether TU is working with farmers to restore small headwater streams in West Virginia, removing acidic pollution caused by abandoned mines in Pennsylvania, or protecting the world-famous salmon-producing, 14,000-jobs-sustaining watershed of Bristol Bay, Alaska, we rely on the Clean Water Act to safeguard our water quality improvements. 

TU members, and sportsmen and women nationwide, want to move forward with progress on cleaning up our nation’s waters, not go backwards. Thus, the Clean Water Act needs to be improved, not weakened—the as was the case in today’s proposal. 

 

 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.