Uncompahgre River Annual Benefit

On Saturday, March 16th, the 8th Annual Benefit for the Uncompahgre River and the 18th Annual F3T Fly Fishing Film Tour took place in Ridgeway, Colorado. Proceeds from the event went to support the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership, a non-profit based in Ouray County. You’re watching the Local News Network brought to you by Sky Ute Casino Resort, and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. I’m Sadie Smith. F3T, or Fly Fishing Film Tour, is an internationally touring short film festival. The two-hour program features diverse locations, people, rivers, lakes, and oceans around the world. Local fishermen of the Uncompahgre River as well as river activists attended to support the cause.

So the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership, which just turned 10 last year, we are here to protect and restore the assets of the upper Uncompahgre watershed, which is the headwaters up in the San Juan Mountains up Red Mountain Pass, and also Sneffles, down to the Ridgeway Reservoir. And this event itself is focused on our restoration of streams to help with fish habitat. So this is the Fly Fishing Film Tour and this is our eighth year of doing it. And the purpose of it, yes, is to fund projects that will make fish habitat better and just improve water quality as well.

The Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership is dedicated to ensuring the health and sustainability of the watershed through monitoring, restoration projects, education and financial sustainability. This includes assessing areas in need of restoration, actively engaging in restoration efforts, educating students in the community, and maintaining financial stability for future endeavors. RIGS Fly Shop and Service Guide donated several items from their shop in a silent auction at the film where proceeds went to the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership.

We sponsored the event, hosted the event for the last eight years. And from the beginning, it’s been a fundraiser for the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership. We thought it was a great way to get people stoked in spring for fishing conditions coming up, see exotic films from around the world, and give back, most importantly. Do something that generates funds to help support our watershed locally.

Policymakers have been actively addressing pressing environmental concerns with particular emphasis on the protection of our nation’s water resources, which remains a focal point of discussion. Recent Supreme Court decisions are reshaping the landscape of environmental regulations. Legislators are grappling with how to best safeguard our rivers, streams, and wetlands.

This particular point in time right now is what happens as a result of the US Supreme Court ruling in Sackett versus the EPA. And you know, the definition of waters of the US is a topic of conversation at the Capitol and trying to figure out how do we protect both valuable ephemeral streams and wetlands that had been protected under previous definitions of what waters of the US constitute. So there’s kind of a gap that folks at the General Assembly are going to be active in the conversation for how to figure out how do we protect those really valuable resources.

Many Colorado residents rely on the conditions of the watershed for agriculture and recreation. State Senator Cleave Simpson has been actively involved in advocating for healthier watersheds and sustainable water management practices at the state level.

I hope the upper Uncompahgre watershed can, you know, use these resources to advance restoration efforts just to create a healthier watershed. But each year try, to work on this on spaces and policies that, you know, promote healthy watershed, whether it was additional funding. Or this session, it’s a bill about green infrastructure where we can do some natural remediations around water quality instead of the traditional building a wastewater treatment plant or something to that effect. I’m a farmer and a rancher in the San Luis Valley. You know, quality of water and quantity of water are particularly important to me. So anything we can do here to raise some money to advance the efforts of the watershed group is time and effort and money well spent.

Funds raised from this event are directed to the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership, aiming to enhance the quality of our watershed through protective measures, education and improvements. Currently, there’s a significant emphasis on mine remediation initiatives. The presence of abandoned mines pose a threat by contaminating water with metals and degrading its overall quality. If you would like to donate, you can find that option on the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership website. For more information about this and other stories, visit durangolocal.news. Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I’m Sadie Smith.

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