By Matt Kroschel
EAGLE, Colo. (CBS4)– The Eagle River is being diverted around a major whitewater play park under construction and the work has some anglers and biologists concerned for the health of the fish that also call this river their home.
Inside Eagle River Anglers, owner Bob Nock was busy on Friday helping customers pick out the perfect fly.
He’s also watching what’s happening just downstream from his shop… closely.
“We are against disturbing the river like they are,” Nock told CBS4.
The Town of Eagle is currently in the process of building the whitewater play park that has been years in the making.
Andy Jessen owns a local brewery and serves on the town council. Jessen has pushed for this park development for years.
He says Eagle is working closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Army Corps of Engineers to address the concerns about the fish.
Their permit for the park was approved by the Army Corps of Engineers after they obtained input from CPW. But CPW still has some lingering concerns about short and possible long term impacts on fish.
The approved designs include building special fish passages, but that does not help the Brown Trout trying to spawn in the river right now. Since the river is being diverted for in-stream construction, the spawning fish can’t pass through the area.
The town says they are working as fast as they can to get the river project finished.
Bob remains skeptical yet optimistic about the future of the river here.
Lori Martin is the CPW senior aquatic biologist for the northwest region and her message to the town, get the work finished in the river as soon as possible to lessen the impacts on the spawning fish.
“CPW researchers are actively studying multiple water parks across the state to see what these projects do long term to fish,” Martin said.