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River, Fooses Creek receive restoration
Author: Audrey Gilpin - Mail Staff Writer The Mountain Mail - Salida, Colorado Link:
River, Fooses Creek receive restoration

Audrey Gilpin - Mail Staff Writer
Newspaper: The Mountain Mail
Salida, Colorado

Habitat restoration was completed in August at Fooses Creek and the South Fork of the Arkansas River, which feed two antique hydroelectric plants operated by Xcel Energy.

During a tour of the restored sites last week, U.S. Forest Service fisheries biologist Phillip Gaines said the project began after studies found the sites east of Garfield and below Maysville had insufficient fishery habitat.

Constructed in 1906, the plants are capable of producing 1.4 megawatts of electricity, which flows to the service grid.

Gaines said, "Historically, Xcel de-watered this area."

The Federal Regulatory Commission relicensed the plant in 1997, requiring Xcel to create minimum in stream flow. Included was a stipulation that if the forest service isn't satisfied with fish habitat, a restoration project must occur, Gaines explained.

Collegiate Peaks Anglers and Cheyenne Mountain chapters of Trout Unlimited donated $5,000, Xcel Energy contributed $50,000 and the Colorado Division of Wildlife made in-kind donations to the project.

"Trout Unlimited really came to the rescue," Gaines said.

The forest service had two weeks to find money to hire a project manager after a volunteer manager with academic and professional experience moved before project onset.

"We only had $2,500 to give, but the project manager we found with enough experience was asking $7,500," Gaines said.

With the Trout Unlimited donation, the forest service hired Peter Gallager with Fin-Up Habitat Consultants of Manitou Springs.

In nine days, 116 sites along a mile and a quarter of river were restored, Gaines said.

"Within an hour of creating pools about three feet deep and dipping out sections of river, we saw fish. In three to four years, we hope to see more and bigger fish."

Gaines and other forest service personnel, Gallager and employees of Hartland Construction of Colorado Springs rearranged and added rocks to the river, moved aspen to attract beaver, created ponds and defined camp sites with rock.

About $9,000 worth of rock was purchased from Lowry Land and Equipment of Salida in addition to rocks on site, Gaines said.

"We worked hard to harbor vegetation and prevent erosion. Reconnecting habitat is very important. A fragmented habitat can have a huge impact."

Mostly brown trout inhabit the restored section of river and Gaines said, "There's been very little over-winter mortality, but over time we should see population increase."
Member comments
by: fishinwfoos on 11/9/2009 3:53:00 PM
Hey Im all in to help with this project no matter how far i need to travel....i mean look at my last name FOOS!!