U.S. Senate honors Fraser’s Kirk Klancke | SkyHiNews.com

U.S. Senate honors Fraser’s Kirk Klancke

Kirk Klancke Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News | Sky-Hi News

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., recognized Fraser resident Kirk Klancke on the senate floor in Washington D.C. on Oct. 12 for Klancke’s “commitment to preserving our environment and making Colorado a better place to live, work and play.”

In his speech to members of the 112th Congress, Udall highlighted the fact that Klancke, president of Grand County’s chapter of Trout Unlimited, was recently selected a finalist for Field and Stream’s “Heroes of Conservation” Award.

“Both Kirk and I have spent time enjoying the natural beauty of our state while appreciating the value of preserving it for future generations,” Udall stated. “His work embodies what I have long held to be true – we don’t inherit the Earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children and the generations that will follow.”

The senator highlighted Klancke’s work spearheading the removal of highway traction sand from river beds. Traction sand can impede flows and the ability for trout to spawn.

As a member of many boards concerning water, “Kirk’s contribution to one of Colorado’s most precious resources – our water – continues to be vital to the health of the Fraser Valley community and our State’s water supplies,” Udall said in his speech.

The senator then personally signed the Congressional Record (Vol. 157, No. 152) to give to Klancke. He handwrote the following: “Kirk, what can I say but that you totally inspire me. Mark Udall,” underlining the word “inspire.”

“In a town with a reputation for getting nothing done, my trip to Washington, D.C., was far more productive than I could have hoped for,” Klancke said. “I had doors open for me that I could not have gotten open before. I felt like the effort to save the Fraser and Upper Colorado Rivers took a giant step forward.”

The keynote speaker for the banquet was Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, formerly a Colorado senator, who spoke of the work that Klancke was doing and made sure that his own staff got Klancke the contact information that he needed to solicit help from the Department of the Interior, Klancke said.

“Senators Bennett and Udall opened their offices up to me as did Congressman Polis,” Klancke said.

“The message that I took to them was how Grand County is doing an amazing job of negotiating with the water diverters through the cooperative agreement to get these diverters to start repairing some of the damage that they have caused to date,” Klancke continued.

As both the Upper Colorado River and the Fraser River face the prospect of increased diversions by proposed “firming projects” introduced by Denver Water and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, “The mitigation that I feel is more important than any other mitigation needed is a robust stream monitoring and adaptive management plan as a permit requirement. A monitoring and adaptive management plan in the permit will assure that the future health of the rivers will be based on science and not politics,” Klancke said.

“I have a lot of follow-up work to do with the people that I met in Washington D.C.,” he continued. “But I can’t help feeling how good it is for our rivers to have friends in high places.”

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