Hermosa Creek Restoration
Starting in 1992, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has worked to restore the Colorado River Cutthroat to Hermosa Creek and the East Fork of Hermosa Creek watershed. This effort is one of the largest native cutthroat trout restoration projects in Colorado and is critical for a fish that has been reduced to occupying less than 15 percent of its original range.
The project is a cooperative effort of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service and Trout Unlimited, with Five Rivers TU having provided over $15,000 to date. Work will continue in 2019-2020 on riparian and habitat restoration thanks in large part to a $5,000 grant from Patagonia® as well as the on-going support of our membership and generous donors. Patagonia® has been a supporter of Trout Unlimited for many years and this award is an example that our mission is sound.
As part of the restoration project, three barriers have been constructed which will prevent non-native fish from migrating upstream. Once completed, the 23+ miles of contiguous native-cutthroat-only water will be the largest such stretch of Colorado River cutthroat habitat in the state.
The significance of this project is that it helps restore our native cutthroat to a large, complex watershed, subsequently making the fish less susceptible to disease and to natural events like fires and mudslides.
It’s important to note that all fishing in the native cutthroat restored reaches is catch-and-release and by fly and lure only.
Hermosa Creek Watershed
The Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection legislation, passed in December 2014 and was the result of a non-partisan, grassroots, movement that began in 2006. The goal was to find a balanced approach to protecting a vital part of wilderness in southwest Colorado.
The Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection legislation created both the Hermosa Creek Special Management Area and the adjacent Hermosa Creek Wilderness. The bill protected 108,000 acres of land surrounding Hermosa Creek, including nearly 38,000 acres of new wilderness that provides crucial habitat for elk, deer, and cutthroat trout.