Sustainable Fishing (and Guiding), Catch and Release Best Practices

When I started fishing in 1960, we killed every fish we caught. Over a half-century later, even though there are 1000 times more anglers, there are more fish and larger trout in Colorado waters.  A big reason for this is the number of folks practicing Catch and Release or Catch and Choose the Fish to Release.

Over the years we have learned more about what stresses fish and techniques for proper fish handling.  Fish released properly have a 90% chance of survival

This link describes the best practices for handling fish to increase their chance of survival after release:

Catch and Release Trout; Best Practices

City of Boulder Hydroelectric Plants?

Who would have guessed?…  The city of Boulder is a hydroelectric power generator.  On May 21, 2018 the city signed a contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association for the sale of hydroelectric power generated at the Boulder Canyon,  Orodell, Sunshine, Maxwell and Kohler hydroelectric plants. The estimated revenue of $500,000 a year will be used for water utility capital improvements and operating costs.

The City of Boulder owns and operates eight hydroelectric power plants, with one purchased and seven constructed since 1985.  These facilities were installed on existing water supply pipelines without any additional dams or overhead transmission lines.  Total generation for 2016 was 40,798,941 kilowatt hours (kWh)

Tri-State is the not-for-profit, cooperative power supplier to 43 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.


Fish Kill due to Boulder Canyon Hazmat Spill on May 1st

On May 1, 2018 there was a hazardous material spill of 250 gallons of sodium hydroxide or caustic soda in upper Boulder Canyon near mile marker 28.5.  The materials were being delivered to the Nederland Water Treatment plant an one container fell off the truck onto the road shoulder.  Authorities were notified by 9:30am arrived at the scene at 10:51am.  By then all the materials had leaked from the container.  In the following days and week fishing guides observed multiple dead and dying fish and populations do not appear to have recovered to pre-spill levels.  The community response was limited and Boulder Waterkeeper believes that additional procedures are necessary to prevent and address future contamination events.

A full report on the incident can be read at:

Contact Wallace Westfeldt ( for additional information.

Daily Camera:

Mountain Ear:


Supreme Court Allows Significant Watershed Restoration Decision to Stand

With a split decision announced on June 11, 2018 the U.S. Supreme court lets stand a ruling in the Washington v. United States ‘culvert’ case that has immediate impact for stream restorations in the State of Washington and potential long term implications for watershed protection in Colorado and the nation.  In commitments made by the U.S. in the 1850s in treaties with tribal nations salmon fishing rights were established and then reaffirmed in federal cases in the 1970s.  The affirmed ruling requires the State of Washington to repair salmon access and habitat that is degraded by 900+ road culverts.  The anticipated cost is in excess of $2.4B.  The implications for other watersheds, the Public Trust Doctrine and Rights of Nature arguments are still being evaluated.

Sugarloaf Water Contanimation

Boulder residents of the Sugarloaf neighborhood are being advised by the Sugarloaf Fire Protection District (SFPD) to not use their well water due to elevated levels of perfluorooctanaic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulphate (PFOS) that exceed federal safety standards.  These chemicals commonly known as PFCs have been linked to health effects ranging from birth defects to bladder and prostate cancers.  Samples taken by the fire district from their wells on April 1 and May 10 both have elevated levels.  Additional tests from the well of a nearby homeowner also show evidence of contamination.  On Tuesday evening June 19th at the SFPD Board Meeting representatives will provide a briefing for concerned residents.  More information is available at

Waterkeeper Alliance 2018 Conference


Boulder Waterkeeper participated in the international Waterkeeper Alliance 2018 Conference in Buffalo NY.  Participants from 29 countries and 35 states attended the event to share information and strategies to preserve and protect drinkable, drinkable, fishable and swimmable waters around the world.  The conference highlight was a rousing speech by Bobby Kennedy Jr. on the links between environmental and social justice and pithy political comments on the dark alchemies of demagoguery.   Specific sessions and discussions on dam removal, instream flow, the rights of nature and Aloha ʻĀina provided strategies and insights that will be used to focus and refine Boulder Waterkeeper strategies and actions.

Boulder Waterkeeper Is Alive!

We are very excited to be launching the Boulder Waterkeeper!

We are currently building out the website, identifying issues to work on, and putting together a team of volunteers to begin protecting the Boulder Watershed. Stay tuned for all the news and action to protect this wonderful resource in this amazing community!

— The Boulder Waterkeeper Team