Efforts to protect Hermosa Creek took a big step forward recently when the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation set a hearing for the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act.
Passage of the bi-partisan bill would mean the protection of more than 100,000 acres of pristine land surrounding Hermosa Creek, an important habitat for native cutthroat trout just a few miles north of Durango. The Act would designate approximately 68,289 acres as the "Hermosa Creek Special Management Area" and approximately 37,236 acres as the "Hermosa Creek Wilderness."
The Act grew out of many hours of work and consensus-building led in no small part by the Five Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited and supported by both Colorado Trout Unlimited as well as TU National. Local interest groups from ranchers to snowmobilers to fisherman have coalesced behind the measure, and Colorado State Rep. Scott Tipton (Republican) and Sen. Michael Bennet (Democrat) have been instrumental in moving the Act forward.
Securing a house subcommittee hearing for the bill is seen as a major step forward following a Senate hearing on companion legislation last year.
The House subcommittee hearing is slated for 10 a.m. eastern time on Thursday, March 6. House Public Lands Subcommittee Hearings are generally available for live viewing here: http://naturalresources.house.gov/live/