To the Editor:
In your candidate questionnaire (10/17/12), a quote of mine was cited praising the work that Grand County's government has done in recent years in emphasizing river conservation.
I stand by these comments, which were made earlier this year when Colorado Trout Unlimited presented our Trout Conservation Award to Grand County. However, I want to make clear that neither I, nor Colorado Trout Unlimited, endorse any candidates for Grand County commissioner. As a nonprofit and nonpartisan conservation group, we are committed to protecting the Colorado headwaters by working with whomever the voters of Grand County entrust with responsibility to represent them.
Colorado Trout Unlimited appreciates the outstanding work that Grand County has done in elevating the conservation issues facing the Colorado and Fraser Rivers and in developing solutions. However, that work is not yet finished. The Cooperative Agreement with Denver Water is an important step, but without additional mitigation to address the impacts of two new projects - Moffat Firming and Windy Gap Firming - the future health of Grand County's rivers is not secure.
As the executive director of Colorado Trout Unlimited, I am committed to representing our member's interests in protecting and restoring the Colorado and Fraser Rivers. As a parent whose son and daughter each caught their first trout in Grand County's waters, I have a more personal connection and want to see these watersheds protected so that one day my grandchildren can share that same experience.
The next important opportunity for Grand County will come as the commissioners consider the appropriate requirements on its 1041 permits for the Windy Gap Firming Project, requirements which should include protections for temperature, adequate flushing flows, and construction of a bypass around the existing Windy Gap Reservoir. This decision offers another opportunity for Grand County to show its strong commitment to the stewardship of its rivers.
We are close to securing an outcome that will improve the future health of the Fraser and Colorado, but we aren't there yet. Now is time for all of us to work together and finish the job of protecting Grand County's rivers.
Colorado Trout Unlimited