Fish return to troubled stretch of Fraser River

KUSA - It's a success story in river restoration. 

Fraser Flats, a nearly-mile-long section of Fraser River in Grand County, is showing signs of recovery following a restoration project, according to Denver Water.

The $200,000 river restoration project was completed in September with the goal of helping aquatic life stay healthy throughout the year. The early results from a fish survey on October 5 show that the number and size of rainbow and brown trout has increased. 

“Before the project, the river was slow, shallow and wide, and that’s not healthy for fish or aquatic insects,” Jessica Alexander, environmental scientist at Denver Water, says on Denver Water's website.

Several features were added as part of the Fraser Flats River Habitat Project including strategically-placed rock structures, new riverbank vegetation and sequences of river pools.

Denver Water, Northern Water, Grand County, Trout Unlimited and Colorado Parks and Wildlife were partners in the project with funding from Learning By Doing, a private landowner, and a "Fishing is Fun" grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Anglers in Colorado will soon be able to see the success of the project for themselves. Portions of the rehabilitated stretch of Fraser River will open to public fishing in 2018 and Devil's Thumb Ranch will use a portion for private fishing tours. 

“This section of the Fraser River is the healthiest I’ve seen this river in the 47 years I’ve lived here,” Kirk Klancke, president of the Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited told Denver Water. “The best part is we’re hoping to do more river improvements like this in the future with our Learning By Doing partners.”

For more information on the Fraser Flats project, visit Trout Unlimited and Denver Water's TAP.

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© 2017 KUSA-TV


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