For decades, the health of Clear Creek in Idaho Springs was seriously impaired by mining runoff, inadequate sewage treatment and channelization from adjacent road and highway construction.
In the summer of 2010, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife 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 whose benefits will ripple well beyond Idaho Springs.
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.
One local business, the Albert Frei and Sons Quarry, provided indispensible support for the project in the form of tons of rock that was used to create structure and stabilize the stream bank. Additional support came from the Trask Family Foundation, the Henderson Mine as well as the West Denver chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Clear Creek Watershed Foundation, which oversaw the project on behalf of the city. Frontier Environmental Services of Arvada, which performed the construction, donated its services for preliminary design and project development. See CPW Grant for more information about this project.
Improving Angling Access at Longmont's Button Rock Preserve
For 20 years, the public couldn’t visit or fish in Longmont’s Button Rock Preserve. City officials finally allowed access to the reservoir that sits within the 2,500-acre preserve, in 1989. But soon the preserve became too popular and the area suffered from degradation, said Longmont Watershed Ranger Dennis Fisher. Longmont officials decided something should be done.
In the early 1990s, Longmont undertook a $33,000-project to improve access and protect the watershed. With the help of a $24,000 grant from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Fishing is Fun program, improvements were made for the 16,500 people that visit Button Rock each year. Improvements included a parking lot restoration, upgrades for handicap access and a riverside fishing pier.
“I’ve noticed people feel more safe with the handrails there, especially with the elderly and toddlers,” Fisher said of the project. “People come for fishing, hiking around and watching wildlife.”
Longmont has taken advantage of the Fishing is Fun program for several improvements to fishing areas, including McCall Lake that was finished in 2000. The $38,000 project provided fencing around the wetlands area, a gravel pier to the reservoir, a fishing dike and a parking lot. Longmont earned a $26,000 Fishing is Fun grant for the project.
"The benefits at McCall Lake is the resource protection,” Fisher said. “The parking lot before was basically a mudflat and people parked next to the shoreline, degrading the shoreline.”
Seven new projects were approved in May 2001 that ranged in value from $25,000 for a two-unit vault restroom at Yuma fishing pond to $268,100 for a new seven-acre reservoir within Lake County’s $1 million Hayden Meadows Recreation Area. Other projects included new fishing access in Milliken, Brush and Craig, and improvements at Fountain Lake and Wildhorse Creek in Pueblo. All told, the seven projects provided new fishing opportunities for 23,375 anglers a year.About the Program
The Fishing is Fun program is a statewide cooperative effort to enhance Colorado’s fishing resources.
Applications are available to non-profit organizations and local development with specific projects online and at the CPW’s regional and area offices throughout the state. Applications are due at Colorado Parks and Wildlife local, area or regional offices in early March. See the Application Calendar for the exact date.
In 2001 the Colorado Wildlife Commission approved a resolution to promote urban fishing access. Fishing is Fun applications from urban communities will receive high priority. Local communities, special districts or counties wishing to submit grant applications must initiate their project by contacting the CPW’s local district wildlife manager or another local CPW employee.