Going big on Greenbacks

by Randy Scholfield

Conservation work can be a long, hard slog, so it’s important to celebrate the successes when they come—and this is big: Colorado TU’s years of hard work and negotiations paid off recently with a U.S. Forest Service settlement on Long Draw Reservoir that will launch a major native Greenback trout restoration effort in the Cache la Poudre River watershed.

This will be the largest native trout restoration project in Colorado history.

Under terms of the settlement, the Water Supply and Storage Company, a northern Colorado ditch company, will be allowed to continue to use Long Draw Reservoir on the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests, but the company will establish a $1.25 million trust to fund restoration projects within the national forests headwaters, including the Neota and Comanche Peaks Wilderness Areas and in Rocky Mountain National Park.

“Over the next decade, we will be restoring a true Colorado native to the Cache la Poudre headwaters in spectacular alpine wilderness within both Rocky Mountain National Park and the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests,” said David Nickum, executive director of Colorado Trout Unlimited, in a statement. “The watershed will be a stronghold for native trout, helping secure this piece of Colorado’s natural heritage for generations to come.”

Establishing a large “metapopulation” of the rare Greenbacks will help inoculate the species against the assaults of climate change, drought, and other factors. In typical TU fashion, the settlement brought different groups together to find a pragmatic, win-win solution that meets the needs of water users while expanding critical habitat and conservation goals.

Randy Scholfield is TU's director of communications for the Southwest. 


said on Friday, May 12th, 2017

Old home week .......  Long Draw, the ditch company and the Poudre are all my home trout turf.  Only in the west where water is king would you find an open irrigation ditch running across our college (Colorado State) campus but also under a major dormitory!  The addtion of the natives to the Poudre watershed will be most welcomed as one more step in this long term restoration of habitat.


John KIes, NCTU Council Chair and one time CSU student


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