"As I grew up I was fervently desirous of becoming acquainted with Nature."
"Watson Lake Diversion Fish Passage—Removing Barriers and Letting the Fish Decide"
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Thursday, January 9th, 2020
Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Dr.
Social Time begins 7 p.m.; Program at 7:20 p.m.
Watson Lake Diversion Fish Passage Structure: photo credit Kyle Battige
The Cache la Poudre River is a hard working river that is imperative to the communities it flows through. From water delivery to recreation to providing critical habitat for both aquatic and terrestrial animals, the Cache la Poudre River is a critical resource to the northern Front Range. The river supports a diverse fish assemblage, but there are many challenges, both old and new, facing aquatic life. One such challenge are migration barriers, although water diversion structures are imperative to delivering water throughout the basin they often represent complete barriers and impede upstream fish movement. Habitat connectivity is important for a number of reasons with fish often moving to spawn, feed, or avoid unfavorable conditions like decreasing flows and high water temperatures. Colorado Parks and Wildlife along with several other partners (Morning Fresh Dairy, Noosa Yoghurt, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Trout Unlimited, and Poudre Heritage Alliance) constructed a fish passage structure at the Watson Lake Diversion Structure, reconnecting over two miles of river habitat. Preliminary results show successful fish passage and hopefully the completion of this structure will provide momentum within the basin for additional passage projects.
Kyle Battige has been an aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife since 2012 and currently manages the aquatic resources of the Poudre River and North Platte River drainages within Colorado.