Continuing to save the Fraser River | SkyHiNews.com

Continuing to save the Fraser River

Brad Johnson
Headwaters Trout Unlimited
Courtesy photo
Staff Photo |

“Save the Fraser River.”

It’s the message on those blue oval stickers that adorn so many car bumpers and tailgates. By now, hopefully just about everyone in Grand County is familiar with the phrase.

So what’s up with this Fraser River, anyway? Why do we need to save it?

The Fraser River flows through east Grand County and provides prime fishing and other recreational opportunities, not to mention it is the critical artery of the entire valley’s ecosystem. It also happens to be one of the primary sources of municipal water for Denver and other Front Range communities. Some 60 percent of the Fraser’s flows are diverted through the Moffat Tunnel system.

Obviously the Front Range needs water, but according to current water laws, Denver Water could legally drain the river dry. As the amount of diverted water has increased, so has the need to monitor the health of the river. This is what prompted the Save the Fraser River campaign.

Championed by the local Colorado River Headwaters chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU), this campaign is intended to raise awareness about the water diversion project and to protect the Fraser from the effects of the diversions.

Since becoming involved with TU, I continue to be impressed with the organization’s efforts in conservation and education. We were successful last year in finally establishing an agreement with Denver Water to incorporate a balance between water diversion and river health, which took years of negotiations to accomplish. This agreement includes measures to reduce the impacts of the diversions and to improve stream conditions.

Much of this agreement incorporates a “Learning by Doing” management approach that closely evaluates the health of the river. Water temperatures, aquatic life, riparian vegetation, and other vital signs are monitored to ensure the river is preserved.

This campaign is an ongoing effort. We still need more resources: to continue stream monitoring and habitat improvement; to continue chapter events and educational outreach; to continue TU attorney Mely Whiting’s representation of the Fraser River.

That’s why we need continued support. Several events are planned, such as the annual TU banquet on July 20 at the Devil’s Thumb Ranch. With a delicious dinner and both live and silent auctions, the banquet is a really fun way to support the Fraser River. Other events are scheduled for later this summer – stay tuned for details!

Both corporate and individual sponsorships are available, and are also a great way to show your support and provide critical resources for the Fraser River.

Whether it’s a sponsorship, a donation, or just rolling up your sleeves to help, there are plenty of ways to support the campaign. To stay updated or to contact us, please visit our website at http://www.coheadwaters.org and check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/SaveTheFraserRiver. You can also sponsor the Fraser River at Granby Bait and Tackle, or at Winter Park Optical or Winter Park Flyfisher in downtown Fraser.

Together we can preserve the Fraser River for generations to come. Thank you again for your support!


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