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Old 07-17-2006   #11
I kayak DH.
Waterwindpowderrock's Avatar
Greater tri cities metro area, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 794
it seems like the pueblo park is a good example of this type of engineering, most features have some spilloff on the side that goes through some rocks, creating a usable ladder.

it really does seem that there are few manmade features that I've seen that are worse than many natural features in the river.

must have been a slow news day, had to come up with SOME bs.


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Old 07-17-2006   #12
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 18
"Flannelmouth sucker" Huh? Some bonehead is just making up fish names, right? I'm concerned that the Peynes Sucker will become endangered.


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Old 07-17-2006   #13
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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Yes, or the Caulk Sucker. That's another one work saving.
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Old 07-18-2006   #14
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
I don't know if I should comment since I have a professional stake in this conversation...but I can't resist. I have sat in more meetings in the last six years discussing fish and whitewater parks than I would care to recall. We (REP) have a study that was done by a fish biologist (PHD). The conclusion of that study was that this topic shold be studied at greater length and that ww parks, in general, have a negligible to positive impact on fish habitat.

As far as fish passage...the US Army Corps of Engineers designed the Pueblo Park for fish passage. We were constrained by those slopes and dimensions and did the best we could for ww paddling so apparently the DOW or someone at the Corps feels that the velocities produced were passable by fish.

The quote that "fish have not been considered" is ridiculous. Every ww park that has been built has gone through a 404 permit process and during that process the DOW has the chance to comment and in many cases they drive permit conditions and design restraints.

I am not going to comment on the Pagosa project specifically since we are actively working to come up with a solution.

I am the first to admit that we and everyone else trying to build ww parks have a lot to learn. Anything that goes in a public waterway needs to pass multiple tests in order to serve the best intrests of the public and the aquatic health of the stream. I am a member of both AW and Trout Unlimited and try to view every project very broadly.

The article on Monday had numerous claims and generalizations that were not sustaintiated and were likely false. What we need is a cooperative effort with the DOW in order to try and determine how to continue to create ww parks that help evolve our sport while enhancing aquatic habitat. As any paddler on the Blue, South Platte, Roaring Fork, San Juan and many other streams around the State can attest to, most of the fish habitat projects in rivers today (many of which were either funded or built by the DOW) are impediments to safe passage by recreational paddlers. So the same article could almost be written from the opposite angle highlighting fish habitat projects and their negative impact on whitewater paddling. Either way...inflamitory statements on the front page of a major newspaper are counter productive (as opposed to my inflamitory statements contained within our little cyber world here (I am calling bullshit on myself)).

I can't spell by the way...
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Old 07-18-2006   #15
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Nice post by Mike. Thanks. It's good to hear you are on top of the issue.

Yes, that Denver Post article is distorted and borders on irresponsible.
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Old 07-19-2006   #16
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 10
PUHHLEEEASE!! Like fish can't find their way. They've been doing it for centuries in the natural drops???!!!
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Old 07-19-2006   #17
Summit County, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 27
Let me just start by saying I spend one-hundred percent of my time working on design, construction, and implementation of fish ladders and dealing with barriers to fish passage (I am a river hydraulic engineer for NMFS). So for me, fish passage is a very important issue, especially when dealing with threatened or endangered species.

I am also a glutton for the Golden and Breck playparks and Steamoat's A-hole. I have spent countless hours surfing and squirting(or attempting to). I can see this issue from both sides.

However, I am siding with the fish on this one. It is true that there are many natural barriers in the water- high waterfalls, chutes, etc. Sure, the fish have survived for thousands of years this way. However, when dealing with ESA-listed (or close to being listed) species, it becomes a "do no harm" type situation. We don't want to exacerbate a problem we have already created. Fish numbers for these species are dwindling because of human activity. And in many cases, to enhance the fish numbers, ladders are built for naturally-occuring obstructions as well.

It's also absolutely true that grout and cement cause serious problems for river ecosystems. While it might be ok to use it in small amounts- anchoring a boulder here or there - to use it extensively in a whitewater park is devestating to the ecosystem in that area. You could ask, "why don't the fish just stay upstream or downstream of the park?" they will- but once you put in enough of these man-made objects, you limit a once long, unobstructed river into descrete short oases that the fish must live between (including other structures- dams, weirs, etc. put in for ag or storage purposes). This causes a new branch of problems involving fish diversity... I could go on for a while.

While I love and cherish our whitewater parks that exist already, I believe that this, like many things, must be done in moderation-- if we allow playparks to be built everywhere, then massive damage could be done to the rivers that we work so hard to protect (which is why I have a job). It's not just the rivers we love- it's the river ecosystem as a whole.

I'd say it's better to first enjoy and maintain the playparks we already have and make sure they're passable for our fishy friends. Destroying aquatic life is undo-able.

I'm not trying to say playparks are bad, just sharing my knowledge about the fish-passage subject. If anyone wants to discuss it more with respect to this particular project, I'd be happy to.
"Hey, put your tongue on that." (Chair 7, Big Mtn.)
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Old 07-19-2006   #18
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Thanks for the comments. I wonder what the ratio is of diversion dams to white water parks in colorado--10 or 100 or higher? And I wonder if DOW will shut down the building of more diversion dams?

Can you comment on what it would take to make white water parks more fish friendly? How hard is it to build a fish ladder on the side?
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Old 07-19-2006   #19
Summit County, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 27
I can't answer the ratio question, but I'm sure it's pretty high. There are hundreds and hundreds of diversion dams in the west. They generally go through rigorous and drawn-out licensing and design procedures before being built. Farming trumps recreation out here.

As far as building fish ladders in play parks, it might be easy or it might be difficult --it is sort of a site-dependent thing. It depends on feature types, length of the ladder needed, the flows and temporal conditions in the water. A ladder built for 10,000 cfs may work very poorly at 1,000 or 500 cfs. During the end of the season when water is getting low, all water may be diverted to the fish ladder to ensure adequate passage, making recreationalists a little pissed.

It's definitely something the action agencies should be (and I'm sure are) looking into, for all types of river barriers, especially if there are endangered fish in the area who like to move around. Some species of fish go back to their native ground to spawn, and if a barrier is in the way, they will just jump at it over and over again until they die.
"Hey, put your tongue on that." (Chair 7, Big Mtn.)
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Old 07-19-2006   #20
Master of Chaos
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I didn't think there were endangered fish all the way up near Pagosa?

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