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Message from the President 

Hello Friends,

Among all the distractions of this election season, we have an opportunity to look locally and vote YES for people and water. Last month, Sean Cronin, Executive Director of the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District shared the district’s long term vision for water project collaboration in our watershed at Browns & Home Brews. The St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District works to protect local water quality, preserve our forests, rivers and creeks, and ensure we have water supplies for generations to come. He also introduced us to ballot measure 7A which would provide necessary funding for the District to be able to achieve their vision for rivers and water in our communities. 7A proposes a property tax (mill levy) increase for the first time in the 50-year history of the District. The measure would provide an estimated $3.3 million per year for water projects that protect water quality and maintain healthy rivers and creeks within the district.

Your chapter leadership has voted to endorse ballot measure 7A, I want to share with you why we have made that decision. Most of the leaders are also property owners within the district, and we didn’t make the decision lightly. The District was established by legislative action 50 years ago, and in that time, funding has not changed. In the meantime, water demands and issues have only grown and become more complex. Since the inception of this chapter, chapter leaders have worked collaboratively with water leaders to support and sustain solutions for watershed health like establishing minimum wintertime flows in St. Vrain Creek. Those individuals know firsthand how constrained those projects have been by the lack of dedicated funds within our district. First and foremost, this measure will establish a much needed pool of local funds for local water-related projects. Of even greater benefit, these funds can be used to leverage additional state-level funding for river restoration and water infrastructure projects. This District has a long history of teamwork and collaboration among water stakeholders, voting Yes on 7A will finally give our district a foot to stand on in implementing collaborative solutions.

This measure is the result of the District’s 5-point Water Vision and Action Plan. The first element of the plan is to protect water quality and drinking water sources. We see this as a fundamental objective shared by everyone in our community. The second point is to safeguard and conserve drinking water. We are fully supportive of an education campaign to educate and increase public awareness as our community only continues to grow. The third point is to grow local food. With the growth of new organic farms, agricultural water use is actually increasing in our community. The District is at the crux of training the next generation of farmers and ranchers to understand water rights, water conservation and ditch management. The fourth point is storing water for dry years. This area has an abundance of gravel ponds and lakes that can be put to use for storage and provide recreational sites for fishing. Proactive planning and management is critical for the uncertain impacts of a changing climate. The fifth point is maintaining healthy rivers and creeks. This final point is fully aligned with the Trout Unlimited mission. This year more than any other has demonstrated how important our natural areas are for recreation and solace. These same areas are all multi use resources including our water supply and home to threatened species, among other things. We all must be part of protecting and managing this resource at the center of our existence. These are some of the reasons this chapter has endorsed St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District ballot measure 7A.

We ask for your support voting YES on 7A. Water is life, and your vote is your voice, so speak up for our water future and vote! To read more about the ballot measure, a Fact Sheet is available from the district, and additional information can be found on the Friends of St. Vrain and Left Hand Water website.

On a final note, I’ll just remind everyone that as a 501c3, St. Vrain Chapter Trout Unlimited is a non-partisan organization. As a non-profit, we do not endorse or oppose any candidate. We can however take a position on ballot issues. We reserve that right for measures that are aligned with our TU mission.

Take Care and Stay Safe,

Barbara

MEET YOUR LEADERSHIP 

Executive Committee

President                             Barbara Luneau
Vice President                     Barbara Sheedlo
Treasurer                             Don Tebow
Secretary                             Shyanne Munson

Committee Chairs and Coordinators

Conservation Chair            Dan Wolford
Communication Chair       Eben Grace
Programs Chair                  Mark Feigal
Education Chair                  Mark Conover
Membership Chair              Vacant

Communications Committee

Newsletter Editor                 Brooke Schroeder
Communications Ed.           Ashley Cawthorn

Education Committee

Kids Learn to Fly Fish            Jim Hibberd  
                                                 Dick Shinton
Trout in the Classroom        Jim Moersch

Advisors

Past President                      Jim Moersch

Do you want to get involved? If you are interested in joining our leadership team and helping us with committees, please contact Barbara Luneau or any board member in person or by email stvraintu@gmail.com. We welcome you.

CHAPTER AND LOCAL EVENT CALENDAR 

September

3      Board of Directors and Leadership Meeting
12     Front Range Watershed Days Bioblitz, St Vrain Creek 
15     Browns & Home Brews Speaker Series, Virtual Sean Cronin 
23     Can’d Aid Macro Data Collection Event
24    Longmont Virtual STREAM Girls Kick Off

October

    Longmont Virtual STREAM Girls close
7      Board of Directors and Leadership Meeting
8      Greeley Virtual STREAM Girls Kick Off
12-21    Colorado TU Council Annual Rendezvous
20    Browns & Home Brews Speaker Series, Virtual
Cold Water Streamer Fishing  
Courtney Despos, TROUTS FLY FISHING
20    St. Vrain State Park Tamarisk Removal with WRV
24        Fall Adopt-A-Highway Clean Up (Oct 24-Nov 1)

November

4    Board of Directors and Leadership Meeting
17    Browns & Home Brews Speaker Series, Virtual
150 years after John Wesley Powell's Journey into the arid West, Dr. Thomas Minckley, Univ of WY

MEMBERSHIP UPDATES 

It’s a challenging time for creating member engagement. This chapter is adapting to the times by converting to a virtual speaker series, making you aware of advocacy campaigns and action alerts, and continuing to host volunteer and education events where social distancing outdoors is possible. Joining our leadership team or a committee is another way you can be engaged and lend your creative ideas for staying linked to our history while transforming our chapter during these times.

Nominations are open for Vice President for the term January 2021 to January 2023. Would you like to dive in and get involved in a Trout Unlimited Chapter? This is a great position to support the leadership team by working with committee chairs, overseeing the chapter’s risk management, and helping with volunteer management. Nominate yourself or someone else by emailing stvraintu@gmail.com.

We are also seeking a new Membership Committee Chairperson. The committee’s responsibilities include welcoming new members, managing our membership database, planning member outreach and engagement with other committee chairs, and assisting with volunteer management and event planning. Nominate yourself or someone else by emailing stvraintu@gmail.com.

UPCOMING EVENTS 

Browns and Home Brews, October 20th 6:30 PM  

ZOOM REGISTRATION LINK

Browns and Home Brews is virtual until Boulder County moves into a safer phase for group meetings. Join us on ZOOM or watch the Facebook Livestream. ZOOM participants will be welcome to join in the question and answer discussion. Please use the link above to register for the ZOOM session.
TOPIC:  HOT TIPS FOR COLD WEATHER STREAMER FISHING

SPEAKER:  Courtney Despos PT, DPT, OCS Director of Education: Trouts Fly Fishing, Denver 

In this program, Courtney will help us jump start our streamer fishing game and provide us techniques that will put big fish in the net all year ‘round.

Courtney Despos is an avid angler and traveler who dabbles in healthcare to pay the bills. She is a passionate ambassador to the outdoors and thrives on creating experiences and sharing knowledge. In addition, she is energized by learning from those around her in an effort to constantly challenge herself and create growth in all aspects of life and fly fishing. Have an amazing story to share or a technique to discuss; you’ll have her ear and attention! Courtney has had exposure to fly fishing from a young age as a result of a brother who dedicated his years as a youth to the passion. Following some difficult life events as a young adult, Courtney opted to separate from her stressful corporate career and immerse herself fully in fly fishing. During this transition, Courtney traveled the western U.S. and other areas in pursuit of knowledge and fish! Courtney’s motto is to ‘live in love’ as she believes that allowing passions and pursuits in the outdoors to define who you are, is the ultimate compliment and source to peace and happiness. Courtney has a true drive to eliminate intimidation and barriers for individuals looking to enter and who are already within fly fishing. When off the water, you can find Courtney with her 10-year old son, helping to positively impact the elderly as a Physical Therapist, holding educational community events related to fly fishing and/or guiding.

Colorado TU Council 2020 Rendezvous Goes Virtual 

This is your chance to take advantage of the distanced situation and attend Rendezvous without leaving the comfort of your home. REGISTER HERE for the full conference and attend the sessions of your choice. Registration is FREE. Chapters that have members in attendance at every session will be entered in a drawing for a cash grant award.

Live sessions will be held on Zoom. Weeknight sessions will start at 7pm each evening with a special half day session on Saturday. All live sessions will be recorded and available for viewing afterwards, so sign up to make sure you're able to access the live and recorded content. Sessions include:

October 12, 7 pm  State of Colorado Trout Unlimited Matt Moskal, CTU President

October 13, 7 pm  Centering BIPOC People in Coldwater Conservation Joel Johnson, Eeland Stribling, Howard Horton, Emma Brown

October 14, 7 pm  Engaging with Colorado’s Water Plan Richard VanGyenbeek, TU Outreach Coordinator

October 17, 9 am  Special half-day session – Colorado Fisheries: Today and Tomorrow
  • Colorado Gold! Gold Medal Waters Panel Session
  • Securing a Future for Colorado Native Trout Native Cutthroat Fisheries Panel
  • Looking into the Future: How Will Trout Survive Climate Change? Climate Change and Fisheries Panel
October 19, 7 pm  Abandoned Mine Land Edition Jason Willis, Colorado Abandoned Mine Land Program Manager

October 20, 7 pm  Successful Grassroots Advocacy: lessons learned Barbara Sheedlo, Chair, CTU Bull Moose (Advocacy) Committee

October 21, 7 pm Youth Education Opportunities in Your Community  Geoff Elliot, CTU Youth Education Coordinator and Barbara Luneau, Headwaters Committee Chair

This conference is open to everyone, and we welcome anyone who is interested in learning about Colorado Trout Unlimited and the great work that is happening across the state to conserve, protect, and restore our coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.
 

St. Vrain State Park Tamarisk Removal

October 20, 2020 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The St. Vrain Chapter is developing a collaborative relationship with Wildland Restoration Volunteers. As a part of our collaboration, we will give you notice of riparian habitat volunteer opportunities. It would be great to see a TU Team at some of these events.

Tamarisk (aka Salt Cedar) has devastated watersheds throughout the west, costing billions of dollars in lost habitat and lost water. Volunteers will continue WRV’s tremendous progress from the past few years, removing tamarisk through hand pulling and weed wrenching. We will also remove some Russian olives using hand tools.

Learn more and register to volunteer HERE.

Adopt-A-Highway Roadside Clean Up, Hwy 7 October 24-November 1

The Adopt-A-Highway roadside cleanup volunteer activity has been officially rescheduled for October 24th through November 1st. We encourage SVATU members to participate in this fall’s clean up of our Adopt-A-Highway section of CO Hwy 7. 

With COVID19 and CDOT’s requirements for social distancing in mind, we’ve made some changes in how we will conduct this clean-up. Instead of doing the clean-up as one large group, volunteers are to participate independently (but we encourage you to bring a buddy!). Member and volunteer, Taylor Thomas is coordinating the event.

We are actively seeking volunteers who are willing to devote a couple of hours to picking up trash along State Highway 7 between mile markers 22 and 25 anytime from October 24 to November 1. This year, volunteers are asked to follow these steps:
  • Register by sending an email to stvraintu@gmail.com, and Taylor will send you all the logistical information and clean up location assignment
  • Complete CDOT training requirements by watching a video and sign and return waiver
  • Pick up supplies at the Laughing Grizzly Fly Shop 
  • Head up into the canyon to your assigned section of Highway, and clear trash from both sides of the highway;
  • Check in by text or email when you are done.

We are looking for 12 or more volunteers.We understand that this is a little different compared to what has been done in the past. If any volunteer is not comfortable picking up trash alone, let us know and we will connect you with another individual so that you are not alone while volunteering. If you know someone that needs service hours, this is a great opportunity to get some. Youth under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Please RSVP at stvraintu@gmail.com so we can contact you prior to the event with safety information, required waivers, and communicate any updates. All participants that collect trash will receive a sweet Rep Your Waters trout skin koozie as a thank you.

RECENT EVENTS

Front Range Watershed Days

A St. Vrain TU Chapter Partnership with  Left Hand Watershed Center

The chapter was a partner and sponsor for the second annual Watershed Days on September 12. Nearly 40 volunteers collected stream health data in the St. Vrain, Left Hand, Four Mile, and Big Thompson watersheds. This community data collection endeavor met its goal to inspire the community to connect with their local watersheds. It attracted new volunteers from all age groups. The St. Vrain team included families, members of the Niwot High School Environmental Club, and TU members among others. 

The Watershed Days bioblitz volunteers are helping to generate a regional-scale scientific database to support the health and recovery of our watersheds. Local river scientists from Left Hand Watershed Center, City of Longmont, and St. Vrain Chapter led data collection teams to evaluate sedimentation, temperature, hydrology, and benthic macroinvertebrate populations at multiple sites in each watershed. Volunteers had the opportunity to learn how our watershed can act as a living laboratory for all us. All of the participants benefited from meeting their fellow citizens and members of the organizations involved in watershed protection.

Can’d Aid Data Stream Health Data Collection Event

Citizen science was a theme for the month of September. On September 23rd, the chapter co-hosted the first Can’d Aid-sponsored Love Your Momma stream health data collection event with the City of Longmont. You may recall that we are recipients of an Oskar Blues Can’d Aid Grant to monitor habitat in the tributaries to the St. Vrain.

Eight volunteers collected macroinvertebrate data at 3 sites at this pilot event. Chapter volunteers teamed up with City of Longmont scientists to lead the 3 data collection teams. We plan to add fish shocking to future events. At this event we started to develop our baseline inventory of the insect life present in the sampled reaches. These data are part of a larger scale assessment of local stream habitat in St. Vrain tributaries. 

The volunteers and leaders had a great time geeking out on bugs. Many of the volunteers were new to the subject and were amazed to learn about this secret life along the stream bottom. These events are creating personal connections to our watersheds and increasing awareness in our community.

ADVOCACY NOTES

Ensure Responsible Energy Development: Safeguard Wildlife, Fish and Their Habitat

The  Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC)- the state board that approves drilling permits and regulations the oil and gas industry- is in the process of amending  its rules for permitting oil and gas sites in Colorado.   This rulemaking is required by Senate Bill 19-181, which expanded the agency’s mission to safeguard wildlife and its habitat against adverse impacts of oil and gas development. 

This has been a significant opportunity for us to advocate for better protections for cold-water fisheries and riparian habitat, and  Colorado Trout Unlimited members have been speaking out!  Over 500 CTU members across the state have sent in comments through this action alert http://www.coloradotu.org/actionforwildlife.  Thank you to all SVATU members who submitted comments.  The deadline for public comments ends October 8th, and the Commissioners will move into public hearings on the 1200 series  rules for protecting fisheries and wildlife scheduled for Oct 13-23rd.   CTU is partnering with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA), Colorado Wildlife Federation (CWF) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in the hearing process and will be providing witness testimony on recommended protections for  valuable fisheries and riparian zones.  You can find more information and the YouTube link to public hearings on the COGCC home page: https://cogcc.state.co.us/#/home.

CONSERVATION UPDATES 

Gross Reservoir Expansion

The state TU Council has had a number of questions about Trout Unlimited’s stance on the proposed expansion of Gross Reservoir, and prepared the following so that you as a member know where the council stands and the background behind that.

TU, as part of a broader environmental coalition, first weighed in on enlargement of Gross Reservoir in the 1980s when the coalition proposed a package of water development strategies as an alternative to Two Forks Dam.  Because the impacts of reservoir enlargement are significantly less than for new on-channel dam construction, Gross was included as part of that package.

When Denver Water began its planning and environmental impact statement process for Gross Reservoir, we made it clear that our previous support in concept for Gross enlargement was not carte blanche; the impacts of the project would need to be adequately addressed and mitigated. Our focus has been on the coldwater resource impacts of the project, which primarily come from (1) increased diversions from the Fraser basin during higher flow periods, and (2) inundation of an additional segment of South Boulder Creek above the current high-water mark.

Through years of activism targeting the federal permitting agencies, and ultimately some tough and extensive negotiations with Denver Water over mitigation and enhancement commitments, we secured a suite of commitments that we believe address the project’s coldwater fishery impacts and indeed offer the chance to make improvements on existing low flow challenges on both sides of the Continental Divide.  These include:
  • 1000 acre-feet of additional water to be provided at key low-flow periods for the Fraser watershed, and another 1000 acre-feet to be provided to assist with flows downstream of Williams Fork Reservoir.
  • A permanent 5000 acre-foot environmental pool in Gross Reservoir, enabling Boulder and Lafayette to store and re-time the release of water to provide for minimum stream flows during the non-irrigation season when South Boulder Creek can suffer extreme low flow below Eldorado Springs.
  • More than $6 million in funding to conduct aquatic habitat improvements on western slope streams impacted by the project and by Denver’s already-authorized diversions.
  • Completion of 2 miles of river restoration on South Boulder Creek to improve the fishery and aquatic habitat generally.
  • Denver Water’s agreement to restrict its service area and take no more water from Grand County unless approved by the county and the Colorado River District.

Further details on the west slope mitigation and enhancement commitments secured through these negotiations, which culminated in a 2014 agreement on the Moffat/Gross project, can be found here.  With the adoption of these mitigation and enhancement efforts, we believe the coldwater rivers and streams impacted by Denver’s proposed project actually can be healthier going forward than they are without the project. This led us to withdraw our opposition and support Denver Water moving forward with its Clean Water Act permits for the project.

An important part of these agreements was the establishment (among key parties including Denver Water, Grand County, and TU) of a program for ongoing monitoring and adaptive management that has come to be known as “Learning by Doing.”  The concept is to leverage Denver’s mitigation and enhancement commitments to maximize the benefits, while constantly evaluating conditions and as needed making adjustments in activities and operations to address threats and opportunities. For example, when flows are low and stream temperatures high, Denver Water adjusts its operations to reduce diversions in the impacted area.  Likewise, during runoff, Denver Water adjusts its operations to try to ensure recurring flushing flows in streams where they divert.  In 2017, the LBD parties completed a pilot habitat restoration project on the Fraser Flats reach that led to a more than doubling of trout biomass in the stream and provided for an additional nearly half-mile of public angling access.

These successes with Learning by Doing are a proof of concept for a collaborative, science-based and adaptive approach, and in a similar vein the Boulder Flycasters chapter is working through a Stream Management Plan effort for South Boulder Creek to ensure that promised benefits for the Boulder Creek watershed are also maximized. This program will ensure that water being provided from the Gross Reservoir environmental pool can be successfully shepherded through the downstream reach, while also improving fish passage and efficiency. It will also create a framework for long-term monitoring of stream health and collaborative action to maintain and improve it.

While we’ve worked hard to secure these river conservation benefits, we have always recognized that coldwater streams – while at the heart of our mission – are not the only issue or impact that the Gross Reservoir project will have.  From truck traffic and noise, to quarry operation impacts on local homeowners, there are a suite of other impacts that Gross Reservoir expansion will create. TU has always supported local government’s 1041 authority, and we support Boulder County’s authority to use its 1041 authority to address project impacts as well. While we are supportive of the project in light of its net benefits to coldwater resources, we appreciate that other groups and individual members will continue the fight to address other community impacts that are beyond our mission scope and expertise.

UPCOMING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

The following list includes some of the vacant committee positions and upcoming volunteer events. Please email us stvraintu@gmail.com and include VOLUNTEER in the subject line. If you would like to volunteer and none of these opportunities inspire you, drop us an email, and we’ll come up with something together that does.

Leadership and Committees

  1. Nominations open for Vice President
  2. Membership Committee chair is open
  3. Committee member position open in:
  • Conservation Committee
  • Education Committee
  • Membership Committee
  • Programs Committee

Conservation

  1. Adopt-A-Highway Roadside Clean Up
  2. St. Vrain Tamarisk Removal with Wildland Restoration Volunteers

THANK YOU BUSINESS MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS 

A big thank you to our business members and supporters that help our chapter by providing goods and services. These donations support our bucket raffles and auctions. Please patronize those that support us.

Laughing Grizzly Fly Shop (Business Member)
Scheels (Business Member)
Peet’s Coffee
L4 Construction (Business Member)
American Legion
South Creek Ltd
Alaska’s Legend Lodge
Amazon Smile
Oskar Blues
Can’d Aid Foundation
North Fork Ranch Guide Service
JAX Outdoors
Rocky Mountain Anglers
Dick Shinton/FishBiz
Tumbling Trout
Wyoming Fly Fishing Guide Service
Yampa Valley Anglers Guide Service
Fish Untamed
Rep Your Water
Sloane’s General Store
Ken Kanemoto, CI
State Farm Insurance, Wes Parker
Periodontics & Dental Implants, PC

SUPPORT THE WORK OF THIS CHAPTER

With your support: 
  1. We continue to work with our partners to ensure ongoing post-flood restoration and monitoring for a healthy watershed through restoration, reconnection, and citizen science projects.. 
  2. We continue to engage in Stream Management Planning efforts under Colorado’s Water Plan by promoting water-wise and fish-friendly plans so that healthy rivers remain at the heart of Colorado’s water future. 
  3. We work to connect kids to watersheds and to get more youth outdoors, through Trout in the Classroom, Kids Learn to Fly Fish, Chick Clark Fishing Program, and supporting CTU camp scholarships. 
Your generosity helps us continue these important efforts to conserve, protect, and restore our homewaters’ remarkable, natural heritage.

Support the work of this chapter when you shop on Amazon by shopping through https://smile.amazon.com/ and selecting St. Vrain Anglers as your charity.

Support the work of this chapter with a monetary gift to the chapter by visiting our WEBSITE and clicking the donate button.
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