Change your head and save a stream.

Change your head and save a Colorado stream.
Blue River at Cottonwood access area.

Snow pack is up. Water anxiety is down. There’s plenty of water. WRONG. We live in a high plains desert. We live with water laws which allocate all available water. The mighty Colorado River seldom reaches the Gulf of California. If we don’t act, we’ll have dry river beds where we now have rivers in Colorado. The fish will be pissed.

But you can act.

1. Check your water history. You use over 60% of your water on your lawn. And you waste most of it.

read more..


What DTU is doing for you.

  • Completed or started these aquatic habitat improvements:

  • Carson’s Nature Center – $10,000

  • Overland Park Pond Gateway Fishery – $15,000

  • Florida Ave – Overland $25,000

  • Trout are OUT of the Classroom $4,000

  • Jackass Creek Silt Abatement

  • Denver S. Platte Flow Study $4,000

  • Committed $10,000 to back the Sheridan River Run Park aquatic habitat.

  • Committed $6,000 to start a “Calls & Release Coalition” to coordinate release timing for optimum S. Platte flows.

    Carson Nature Center – Completed May 2013.

    Denver Trout Unlimited contributed $10,000, raised through the Carp Slam. Construction started April 2013 and finished the end of May 2013. Within hours trout inhabited the new runs, pools, and glides.   read more…

    Meanwhile in May of 2014, trout from DTU funded Trout in the Classroom were released into water at Carson Nature Center. DTU members, students, Carson Nature Center, the trout, and of course the raptors were all ecstatic.  read more …


    But just above Carsons a Jackass tries to undo the good works.


    Jackass Gulch silting abatement – DTU is an interested party with City of Littleton and Urban Drainage and Flood Control in this project just upstream of Carson. It has been funded and will get underway in 2015.


    Overland Park Pond – Completed July 2013. Our  $15,000 helped reconstruction of Overland Park pond and river front to server as a fishery gateway for young anglers. Creating habitat, rearing trout, creating new gen anglers. DTU DOES IT ALL.


    Overland-Stretch. Construction started 10/20/2014 -DTU’s $25,000 helped get this project moving.Ultimately, at least $4 million will be spent to improve several stretches of the Urban South Platte from Grant Frontier to Overland Pond. See Ronnies River annotated Reports for more photos…


    PURE Trash Study.– Working with the Greenway Foundation we were founding members of PURE, Protect Our Urban River Environment, which has a 2 year grant to develop strategies to keep trash out of the S.Platte.


    Denver South Platte – Minimum Flow Study. DTU commissioned a $4,000 study of the flows in the Denver South Platte to pinpoint when dangerous low flows occur and what minimum flows are necessary to protect the aquatic habitats we are restoring. Read the study…


    Sheridan River Front Park – DTU has pledged $10,000 in support of a follow-on project downstream from the Carson project. Engineering and studies started in the fall of 2014.


    Calls & Release Coalition – DTU has pledged $6,000 to work with Greenway Foundation in setting up a coalition of municipal, state and  government agencies, water rights holders, and other major water shareholders to coordinate releases for the delivery of water to ensure optimal aquatic habit flows in the Denver South Platte.



    DTU Contact –




Help these kids

These kids raised the fry.

Now it’s your turn to raise some cash for the Denver South Platte aquatic habitat.

Carp Slam proceeds fund studies and help fund excavators in the Denver South Platte to restore a healthy aquatic habitat for bugs and fish. The Carp Slam also funds our Trout in the Classroom project which for the first time allowed these kids to release their fry into their home river.  Habitat restoration was recently completed at Carson Nature Center also thanks in part to Carp Slam funds and started Oct. 20, 2014 on the Overland Golf Course stretch.

Donate a tax deductible amount to help the cause. All funds go to aquatic habitat restoration and Trout-in-the-Classroom.


… read more on Trout in the Classroom

All the Trout in the Classroom photos from the Denver South Platte Trout Class of 2014.

RU fishing in the street?

Fish in the stream, NOT in the streets !

by: John Davenport, editor of The Drift. 5/2014

Popup Mist sprinkler head. 1.5 inches of water an hour is TOO MUCH. After 10 minutes in Denver It will run off before it reaches the roots.

  • Denver soils absorb water at .25 inch per hour.

  • Traditional popup mist sprinklers soak them at 1.5 inches of water per hour. So if you run your sprinkler for more than 10 minutes, you are actually moving fishable water from the Fraser, Blue, and S. Platte to the Denver Streets.

  • Rotator Head
    A rotator head pumps out only .5 inches per hour so you can water for 30 minutes and get water deep encouraging your grass (RTF of course) to send down deep roots.

    But you can easily swap out to popup rotator heads (.5 inch per hour), plug unneeded heads with a 3/16 in washer, and water for 30 minutes 2x/week and keep the fishable water where it belongs.

  • Check out this slide show to see how easy it is to do. 

  • Questions? email me  

Fraser is Happy

Fraser accepts a drop of water from a family overwatering their lawn in Denver. From the Colorado Trout Unlimited “Defend the Colorado” campaign. Click for full video.

Fraser is Happy !


    Last fall a big greenback was seen hiking along the highway from Winter Park to Denver looking for his water. It seems a major water company had been diverting his home water to grow Kentucky Bluegrass lawns. In interviews Fraser seemed confused by how and why this was happening and set out for Denver to track down his water.

Fraser’s looking for his home water.

Hiding under the conference table Fraser heard some good news. Denver Water,  TU, Grand County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado River District, and Middle Park Water Conservation District had reached an agreement on Feb. 13, 2014 that would actually improve his habitat over what it is now. All they need is Army Corps of Engineers approval expected in early 2015 to get started on it. Here’s what he heard:

High water temperature will be monitored at Tabernash, Fraser, and below Windy Gap Reservoir. When the temperature gets high than 70F in the Fraser River or above 74.8 in the Colorado, Denver Water will give back 250 acre-feet of water at up to 4 cubic feet a second to bring it back down.  If after 20 years of “learning by doing” this doesn’t work, then Denver Water will contribute $1 million dollars to design and construct project for the sole purpose of addressing these temperature problems.

Flushing flows for a minimum of 72 hours to improve channel stability and transport sediment will be provided by Denver Water  3 out of every 10 years. Flushing flows committed to are 80 cfs (cubic feet per second) in the Fraser, 70 cfs in St Louis Creek, 50 cfs in Vasquez Creek, and 40 cvs in Ranch Creek.  If after 20 years this doesn’t work, Denver Water will contribute $1 million for projects to address channel stability and sediment transport.

Fraser, the wandering greenback cutthroat is particularly happy that Denver Water will be funding a $72,500 barrier to restore cutthroats in a CPW selected headwater stream. Denver Water is already collaborating with the USFS, ACE, USFWS, and CPW to protect the greenback cutthroat trout with an eye to expanding habitat on the Williams Fork and St. Louis Creek.

Fish Habitat restoration projects using $750,000 from a Denver Water escrow account will be used to compensate for reduced flows caused by the Gross Reservoir Expansion (named the Moffat Project for some reason.) See the interview with Stoney, the homeless Denver South Platte Stonefly, in the March 2014 DTU Drift, to understand how changing a stream channel can actually make a river trout habitat better when the flows are reduced.

Stream conditions, water temperature, channel stability, sediment transport, macro invertebrates, riparian areas and wetlands will all be studied to provide a baseline for action should problems occur during the construction or operation of the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project.

Development of an annual plan to coordinate operations of diversion structures and reservoir releases to maximize the effectiveness of temperature, channel stability, habitat restoration, and cutthroat restoration.

Denver Water and Norther Water will contribute $6 million  for Habitat Improvement in the 17 miles of Colorado River from Windy gap to the confluence with the Williams Fork River.

Denver Water will provide $1 million for flow related projects to protect wild and scenic river values.

Denver Water will turn over 1.25% of West Slope Fund surcharges to be dedicated to reforestation and aquatic improvements  in Grand County.

After the project is operational in 2021, $2 million for environmental enhancements, and $1 million for pumping water from Windy Gap to Grandby Reservoir for subsequent release to the Colorado below Grandby. Denver Water will dedicate 1,000 acre-ft each year from the Fraser Collection System and 1,000 acre-ft from the Williams Fork Reservoir to be used for instream minimum flow and aquatic habitat improvement.

Denver Water commits to by-pass and additional 2-3,000 acre-feet of water from diversion as required by USFS and Bureau of Land Management, unless it has implemented a ban on residential lawn watering.


(Read the details for yourself. I’ve translated this from legalese and may have made some untoward assumptions. .ed)

 TU Press Release:  

Fraser is going to stick around in Denver until the Corps of Engineers approves this mitigation and Enhancement Coordination Plan and Denver Water gets its permit to expand the Gross Reservoir. Then as the work on the project starts he’ll return home to keep an eye on and enjoy the improvements being made. He’s one happy greenback.

Don't Suck the Upper Colorado Dry

Don’t Suck the Upper Colorado Dry – Photo by Cory Stansbury

Bringing Stoneflies and Trout back to the Denver South Platte

Bring Stoney Home !!

Why won’t Stoney come home? Exactly how much water do we need to bring trout and stoneflies back to the Denver South Platte?

Stoney as a zombie, far from home.


Catch this interview with Stoney, the Denver South Platte homeless stonefly, forced from his home water by flood control projects, water pollution, high temperatures, erratic flows, poorly treated water, run-offs and just plain human meanness.   


Cast the Carson Riffle

Cast at Last in the Carson Riffle.

Stage 1 of the 1st Denver South Platte River habitat restoration is completed.

With the help of $10,000 of Carp Slam seed money from DTU,  Urban Drainage and Flood Control, South Suburban Parks and the City of Littleton dug into an initial study for this restoration and then in a quick 60 days created a fantastic 2,000 feet of perfect trout habitat. At a walk thru on 5/29 we saw trout rising to tricos in the newly constructed run. Truly AMAZING. Carson Nature Center will be offering Fly Fishing Classes at the site. This is exactly what we [and a big thanks to former DTU Presidents Todd Fehr and Mike Hobbs] are working for on the entire Denver South Platte. This project will serve as a model for what can be done and what should be done on the Denver South Platte.

Mike Hobbs and John Davenport fished this section a week after water had been reintroduced from the diversion. They were astounded by the number of trout feeding in every hole. There was a massive trico hatch as the wind died down and a trout landed by John opposite the observation deck had an osprey puncture wound in its side. Nature took less than a week to get back on course. THIS is what can be done for the whole Denver South Platte. SUPPORT THE CARP SLAM.


Carson Nature Center


Now, on to the next 26.1 miles.

Meanwhile, a classroom of students in the Denver Center for International studies raises trout for this fine new habitat thanks to funding by Denver Trout Unlimited.

Oliver Martinez (left) and Jonas Notoli a couple of very proud trout poppas.

read about it…

 Read the entire issue of the May 2013 eNews  The Drift.