Colorado Headwaters Connectivity Project
A project is underway to reconnect portions of the Upper Colorado at the Windy Gap Reservoir and nearby areas. The Windy Gap Dam area of the Colorado and Fraser rivers in the vicinity have suffered over the years from the impacts of the dam, weirs and the Granby Diversion. The combined impact of the present structures has been to prevent the normal movement of fish and other aquatic life in the area. Another result has been the "armoring" of the river bed below Windy Gap Dam, resulting in what amounts to a dead zone below the dam.
On August 15, 2018, a Public Scoping Open House for the Colorado River Headwaters Connectivity Project was held in Granby. The meeting was well-publicized and open to everyone. About 15 interested people attended the informative meeting. Most attendees were stakeholders with a serious interest in the proposed process. At the meeting, they had an opportunity to share their thoughts about the proposed Windy Gap by-pass and other issues impacting connectivity on the upper Colorado River. TU strongly supports the proposed Windy Gap By-Pass and improvements to the Fraser River and is one of the sponsors of the project. Although there were questions and concerns expressed, everyone in the room seemed enthusiastic about the proposal. There was some concern about "the Devil being in the details" but the tone of the crowd was optimistic.
This was the first in a series of expected local meetings about the Colorado River Headwaters Connectivity Project. If you were unable to be at the meeting, you can still express your thoughts. You can follow this link to a Colorado Trout Unlimited page to learn more as well as have your voice heard and express your support by clicking here. You have until August 31 to express your thoughts about this first step in the process. There will be future opportunities for comment as the plan evolves as well.
For more information about the meeting, click here.
Colorado Water Bought By Investment Firm
If you think water's not going to continue to be an important issue in the west, think again. A New York City based company is buying up agricultural water rights in western Colorado for investment purposes. Learn more about it on the Water Education Colorado website by clicking here.
August 1 Water Diversion Study Concerns
Two West Slope water districts have split with Front Range water districts over the third phase of a risk study focused on bolstering water levels in Lake Powell. Some Western Slope participants have expressed their concern about Front Range water diverters interest in censoring results of science-based studies. Follow this link to Aspen Journalism's full article.
Banquet 2018 Results & Photos
The July 23, 2018 TU Banquet was a great success, thanks to YOU! Our once a year fundraising, educational and social event was a big hit! Photos are available by clicking here. All photos are available for free download. If you have additional photos you'd like to share, send them to your webmaster by clicking here.
Final results of our fundraising tally will be available here soon, but our initial impression is that we raised a substantial amount of money to continue our efforts to save the Fraser, Upper Colorado, support science-based environmental decisions and help fight to preserve our cold water fishery and environment. The Board of the Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited expresses our sincere thanks to everyone who attended the Banquet, donated auction items or helped us in any way! You play a critical role in our success!
July 23, 2018 High Water Temperatures Threaten Fish
High water temps put trout at serious risk. Warm water holds less oxygen and trout have trouble getting enough oxygen in water over 65 degrees. They can suffocate when water temps get into the 70's. Playing, catching and releasing a fish in warm water is often a death sentence for that fish.
You all know the satisfaction and importance of "catch and release" fishing, but local water temperatures resulting from our changing climate are currently so high that fishing after about 1 PM on most of our rivers has become "catch and kill". Record high air temperatures and low water flow levels combined with no release of water from reservoirs into our rivers by diverters have resulted in dangerously high water temperatures in our streams.
As fishermen and women who must also be stewards or our environment.
Here is what we can do now. Fish with a thermometer. If water temperatures are above 65 stop fishing or, at the very least, follow the suggestions to the right. Currently, that means we shouldn't fish after 1 PM on most of our rivers and the Department of Wildlife has begun posting notices to that effect.
Trout Unlimited is currently talking with water diverters and we hope to negotiate water releases soon. We're encouraging Denver to implement watering restrictions and to begin releasing water into our rivers. Denver Water is not obligated to make releases until they have all their permits, but releasing water now would be good for our environment and would simply be a good public relations move for them.
Over half the water from our rivers in the Fraser Valley is being diverted during one of the warmest and driest years on record. The result is in a spike in water temperatures in our rivers. In this dangerous time for our rivers, TU is encouraging Denver to put manditory watering restrictions in place (there currently are no restrictions on watering in Denver) and to release water into our rivers. We encourage you to ask Denver Water and other diverters about this.