Grand County Trout Unlimited banquet is Saturday
People frequently ask what they can do to help Grand County Rivers now they have an opportunity, says Kirk Klancke.The Winter Park Ranch, Water & Sanitation district manager is encouraging community members to attend the annual Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited banquet. The dinner is at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Grand Elk Golf Club.All funds will stay in Grand County and benefit the health of the rivers here, Klancke said.Help Trout Unlimited help the rivers, he added. Come to the banquet. Have a great meal, a great time and support a great cause.Tickets are available at Winter Park Optical, Mo Henrys Trout Shop, or by calling Klancke, (970) 531-2199.Dont just come to the banquet, become a member make a difference, he said.Last year the banquet raised about $9,000 and the group hopes to raise $10,000 this year. Half the funds will support a project that Trout Unlimited is working on to stop more water from being diverted from Grand County rivers.I dont know of another conservation organization who does as much for Grand Countys environment as Trout Unlimited, Klancke said.Jason Sorter was hired by Colorado Trout Unlimited as a contract lobbyist to run a public outreach program on the Windy Gap Firming and Moffat Firming projects, which could take an additional 20 percent of water from the Colorado and Fraser rivers.Both of these are large water diversion projects that will divert more water from Grand County, Klancke said.How TU helps Grand CountyColorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited was formed four years ago and was given its name by Jim Nelson, a longtime local fly fisherman with a statewide reputation, Klancke said.All he did was ski and fly-fish his whole life, he added. He spent his whole life teaching people how to enjoy life.The group focuses its attention on Trout Unlimiteds mission statement: To conserve, protect and restore coldwater resources and the watersheds of which they depend.The chapter supports an education outreach program at the Fraser grade and middle schools through lectures and field trips.We focus on the health of our local rivers and that they have more than half of their water exported to the Front Range cities, Klancke said. They get it very well. Im very impressed with our generation coming up When my friends and I are old and tired, were hoping that there is some young blood that will come in and carry the torch.The group also supports youth fly-fishing.We believe the future of T.U. is in the hands of a generation who hasnt held a fly rod yet, he said. We also believe that to spend time on the river creates a person who will work to preserve the river. Because of these beliefs our outgoing president Scott Linn has spent countless hours working in the State Youth Camp. He also works with local youth to help introduce fly-fishing to the next generation.The group donates time to river cleanup.The organization participated in the river restoration project, and has replanted wetland plants.The chapter also took part in a temperature-monitoring program. Four years ago, the members used thermometers to record stream temperatures as they fished. The research determined that the cold-water fishery in Grand County was reaching temperatures that threatened the fishery.We found we had temperatures way to high to support a trout fishery, but nobody believed us, Klancke said. We even got laughed at.So, three years ago, National Trout Unlimited donated temperature sensors, software and a shuttle for downloading the sensors to the Grand County Water Information Network.Of all of the hundreds-and-thousands of dollars of stream monitoring information collected in Grand County each year, this temperature data has proved to be the most useful in showing the impacts of removing large amounts of water from our streams, Klancke said. This year, our local Trout Unlimited chapter will support this temperature program with more funding than any other single entity.Its proof that there is degradation to our environment, he said. They hate that kind of talk because you cant kill the environment.Its a fact that the state of Colorado, in general, hasnt woken up to. Most of the state doesnt know where their water is coming from or what the impact of diverting it from the national environment is.
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