DOW grant boosts recovery of Clear Creek
A stream recovery project in downtown Idaho Springs recently received an $80,000 boost from a Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Fishing is Fun grant.
For decades, mining runoff, inadequate sewage treatment and channelization from adjacent road and highway construction affected the health of Clear Creek. But in recent years, a coalition of stakeholders made significant investments to help mitigate and reverse the damage, resulting in a clearer Clear Creek.
This summer, a DOW Fishing is Fun grant helped to further enhance fish habitat in a quarter-mile of Clear Creek as it runs through Idaho Springs and Courtney-Ryley-Cooper Park near the Argo Mine Superfund Site. The project created a new urban fishery, the benefits of which are expected to ripple well beyond Idaho Springs, a news release said.
At a dedication ceremony Oct. 26, Colorado Department of Natural Resources director Mike King applauded the collaborative spirit that led to the restoration of this stretch of Clear Creek.
“This is a tremendous example of local governments, private entities and environmental groups coming to together to make their community better,” King said. “Now we have a great stretch of trout stream that is readily accessible not only to people in Idaho Springs, but is less than half hour from Denver. This is a model we need to repeat again and again across Colorado.”
The Fishing is Fun grant was used to deepen the stream channel and install structural improvements to benefit trout such as boulder clusters, engineered pools and cross vanes. In addition, bank stabilization and revegetation work was performed on both sides of Clear Creek in the project area. The project also features access improvements for mobility-impaired anglers.
Several local and regional businesses and organizations made in-kind contributions to the effort.
The visibility and success of the project has helped build momentum for additional stream improvement work in Idaho Springs, Clear Creek County Commissioner Tim Mauck said.
“This is one of those big success stories that you just love to talk about,” Mauck said. “The partnership between the foundations, the county, the city, Trout Unlimited and our business community is exceptionally important to improving the quality of life here in Idaho Springs. Everyone really pulled together over the last few years to create some great fishing – and that helps to build Clear Creek’s image as a destination fishery.”
The Fishing Is Fun Program is in its 23rd year and has helped local communities partner with the DOW and the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Act Program on 275 projects in nearly every county in the state, a DOW release said. More than $17.5 million in grant awards, derived from federal excise taxes on the purchase of fishing equipment, boat engines and motor boat fuels, have been invested in angling resources throughout Colorado. With local matches, the total investment is more than $35 million. States determine how those funds will be used on angling programs, with oversight by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure funds are administered properly.
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