Todd Fehr Award

Colorado Trout Unlimited awards “Outstanding Volunteer Award 2016” to Todd Fehr, Former DTU President and current Treasurer.

For his outstanding and indefatigable work on the restoration of the Denver South Platte River aquatic habitat. Marshaling the focus of his organization as well as that of municipalities and stakeholders along the Denver South Platte, he has  initiated a movement that is turning the river back into a cherished natural asset. 

Todd Fehr – right At the completion of the Carson Nature Center – Phase 1

Carson Phase 2 has feeding trout.

One of many noses picking off a nice healthy hatch of bwos.

Phase 2 from Carson Nature Center downstream toward Reynolds Landing Park

What was a barren construction zone in January 2015 is evolving into a very nice urban fishery in November 2015. The high flows near 3,000 CFS in June-July took some of the topsoil out of areas slated for riparian replanting but all the structure seemed intact and the improved narrowed channels seem to have been retained. Willows planted along the banks in areas have new leaves.

The nicest surprise was the trout feeding along some stretches. More water would definitely help this fishery but the low flow design has obviously worked. Chatfield is putting less than 1 cfs into the Denver South Platte at the moment (11/7/2015.)

Save The Shoemaker Plaza Carp

Denver Trout Unlimited helped save Carp trapped by construction and falling waters.

DTU Carp Spotting Committee – 15th St bridge over the Denver South Platte -8/3/2015

An estimated 30 Carp and a large turtle were trapped behind the damaged sheet pilings at the Shoemaker Plaza reconstruction site. Efforts convinced authorities that these carp should be saved. Last summer DTU member Trevor Tanner rescued a similar pod of 130 carp trapped by the lowering of Chatfield Reservoir for construction work.

A video of the committee’s visit is on youtube here.

Photos taken at the site:

Why DTU believes these Carp should be saved:

The common carp has traditionally been thought of as a “trash” fish in the United States. It turns out most of what is believed about Carp is incorrect and can be traced back to a failed attempt to establish fisheries in the polluted waters of the US in the 1890’s.

Thanks in part to the Carp Slam, fly anglers in Colorado and around the world now see fly fishing for carp in the Denver South Platte as a challenging and exciting opportunity.  We’re working as hard as anyone to bring habitat and flows to the Denver South Platte that will easily sustain populations of fish like brown trout and rainbows.

At the same time Denver Trout Unlimited realizes that it will be a long time effort and that a natural healthy river will also sustain Cyprinus carpio from the family Cyprinidae (family Cyprinidae). The Pikeminnow, indigenous to North America, is a member of the same cyprinid family and did coexist with the cutthroats in the Denver South Platte.

10 Things you Did Not Know about the Colorado Dorado  from the Metro Denver edition of The Angler Magazine.


DTU & Greenway 50K Grant for Minimum Flows

DTU Member Tim Emery nets a S. Platte Rainbow 400 yds from the MileHigh end zone.

DTU Member Tim Emery nets a S. Platte Rainbow 400 yds from the MileHigh end zone.

The Greenway Foundation and Denver Trout Unlimited Receive $50,000 Grant from Wells Fargo-NFWF to Support  their Sustainable South Platte River 

Part of $100 million effort to support local environmental nonprofits 

Denver, CO – 06.09.15 – The Greenway Foundation and Denver Trout Unlimited today received a $50,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program, funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), to support their Sustainable South Platte River Initiative.

Established in 2012, the Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities five-year grant program has awarded $12 million to 207 grantees and funded 247 projects to date that promote conservation and environmental sustainability.

“Denver Trout Unlimited and the Greenway Foundation will work to transform current water use patterns along the South Platte River below Chatfield Reservoir into a model for cooperative water use”, stated Jeff Shoemaker, Executive Director of The Greenway Foundation and Todd Fehr, Former President of Denver Trout Unlimited.  “One of the direct benefits of this collaboratively based endeavor will be the ability to provide added urban ecological restoration of this section of the River within the Denver Metro Area. Without Wells Fargo’s support, this opportunity would not be able to move forward in this manner at this time”

“This environmental grant today is an investment in our local community and will provide much-needed funding aimed at protecting the environment for our local residents,” said Ashley Grosh, Vice President, Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs “We’re proud to collaborate with The Greenway Foundation and Denver Trout Unlimited to use our financial resources, as well as the expertise of our team members, to protect and preserve a more sustainable environment for communities we serve.”

As part of Wells Fargo’s $100 million philanthropy commitment to nonprofits and universities by 2020, a $15 million, five-year relationship with NFWF was created and launched in 2012 to promote environmental stewardship across the country. The goal of the Wells Fargo-NFWF grant partnership and program is to provide grants for highly impactful projects that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment. The program will fund proposals in select cities/regions (see website for full list) in the following areas:

  • sustainable agriculture and forestry
  • conservation of land and water resources
  • restoration of urban ecosystems
  • clean energy infrastructure

The Greenway Foundation and Denver Trout Unlimited were selected from among more than 450 requests submitted by local team members and nonprofits Wells Fargo identified as being in need of extra help with green revitalization projects. In April 2012, Wells Fargo released a set of environmental commitments to be achieved by 2020; including reducing the company’s environmental impact, financing the transition to a greener economy and encouraging stronger and more sustainable communities. Part of this goal includes a $100 million environmental grants commitment by 2020 to create a “greener” future for the communities they serve.

Details of the Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program and a link to the 2016 application (available in September 2015) can be found at the NFWF application website: Projects benefiting underserved communities and encouraging volunteerism are given priority consideration. The Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation to promote environmental stewardship across the country.

Since 1974, The Greenway Foundation has led efforts to:

– Reclaim the South Platte River and its tributaries from a virtual cesspool to a place of environmental and recreational pride.

– Construct more than 100 miles of hiking and biking trails

– Create 20+ parks and natural areas

– Design and build numerous whitewater boat chutes

– Vastly improve the health of the South Platte River Watershed and its habitats

– Provide environmental education to more than 60,000 school children

– Employ more than 100 teenagers in youth employment programs

– Host numerous community events, and annual volunteer river clean up days

– Help create over $500 million of green improvement to the South Platte River and its tributaries, facilitating over $15 billion in residential and commercial development throughout the Denver metro area.  

Current projects include:

– SPREE (South Platte River Environment Education), including River Rangers Youth Employment and

Greenway Leadership Corps

– River Vision Implementation Plan – South Platte River Master Plan

– PURE (Protect our Urban River Environment)

About Denver Trout Unlimited

The Denver Chapter of Trout Unlimited draws it support from the city’s downtown and northern suburbs. We have a membership that is young and diverse in interests. DTU espouses and promotes the mission of Trout Unlimited to preserve, protect and restore North America’s cold water fisheries and their watersheds.


This is Denver, Colorado and a river runs through it. DTU has adopted a long term goal to turn the Denver South Platte River into an asset for the city of Denver and its citizens. Our objective is to restore aquatic and riparian habitat thus making the South Platte River in Denver a recreational fishing destination for residents and visitors and a refuge for fish and wildlife. Our focus is on the river below the water line, the aquatic insects, the quality and quantity of water, the structures and bottom of the river and, of course the fish and other life forms in the water ecosystem.


One of our current goals is to work on the mechanisms that can bring a minimum flow to the Denver South Platte so that the improved aquatic environments we helped create at Carson Nature Center, Grant Frontier/ Overland Park, and soon River Run Park in Sheridan are preserved during periods of low flow stress.

The world famous Denver Trout Unlimited Pro/Am Fly Fishing Carp Slam is our major fund raising event. Proceeds are used for improving the aquatic habitat of the Denver South Platte and sponsoring Trout-in-the-Classroom sites that connect youth to our river.

Please visit for more information about our chapter’s work and upcoming events.

About Wells Fargo & Company

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.7 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,700 locations, 12,500 ATMs, and the internet ( and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 266,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

What DTU is doing for you.

Completed or started these Denver South Platte aquatic habitat, quality and quantity improvements :

Matching funds grants for restorations:

  • $10,000 – Carson’s Nature Center proof of concept South Platte restoration.

  • $15,000 – Overland Park Pond Restoration as a Gateway Fishery

  • $25,000 – Florida Ave – Overland Stretch RISO Restoration

  • $10,000 – Sheridan River Run Park aquatic habitat project with the understanding that LUNKER habitat pipes will be installed.

  •  $10,000 for an Analysis and Interpretation of Aquatic Habitat Changes as a result of the Chatfield Reallocation project.

  • $3,000 for in-stream boulder clusters in the Grant-Frontier Park restoration.

Studies to trigger restoration and better flows:

  • $16,000 for a study of the downstream impact of additional “environmental pool” releases from the expanded Chatfield reservoir.

  • $50,000 grant from Wells Fargo to support Sustainable South Platte Aquatic Habitat through cooperative municipal water use.

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

  • $4,000 Denver South Platte Minimum Flow for Aquatic River Health study.

          Alerts to trigger action on DSP Disasters and Near Disasters:

  • Sand Creek Oil Spill

  • Confluence Park Carp Entrapment

  • Habitat Scarcity in Restoration Designs

  • Overland Park Pond Dehydration

      Events and Programs to Promote, Educate, and Protect the DSP

  • $1,200 for Full Year 1/hr Temperature Sensors at 6 sites on the Denver South Platte

  • Trout in the Classroom  project $4,000

  • Jackass Creek Silt Abatement Monitoring

  • “Spill or Kill” pollution reporting card. 2,000 distributed to enable anglers & water recreation users to immediately contact the 800-424-8802 24×7 National Spill Response Center.

  • “Hero of the South Platte” to Trevor Tanner for discovery and reporting of the Sand Creek Oil Spill and to Joe Shoemaker for his incredible efforts on behalf of the Denver South Platte.

  • World Famous “Denver Trout Unlimited Carp Slam” fly fishing contest on the DSP to demonstrate the potential of the DSP and raise funds for restoration.

    • Carson Nature Center Phase 1- 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…

      Full Year 1/hr Temperature Monitoring – At six sites in the Denver South Platte, DTU sensor guardians, Mike, Reid, Ronnie,Todd, and John have placed these hitech devices to capture data to help manage our improving fishery and the DSP habitat. Read more…


      Sheridan River Front Park – DTU has released $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.

      The Greenway Foundation and Denver Trout Unlimited Receive $50,000 Grant from Wells Fargo-NFWF to Support  their Sustainable South Platte River  – 6/9/2015

      Denver Trout Unlimited and the Greenway Foundation will work to transform current water use patterns along the South Platte River below Chatfield Reservoir into a model for cooperative water use. One of the direct benefits of this collaboratively based endeavor will be the ability to provide added urban ecological restoration of this section of the River within the Denver Metro Area.



      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.