BELLVUE, Colo. (CBS4) – Northern Coloradans came together to help Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers build a ramp for fish near Watkins Lake. A spillway was blocking fish from moving upstream in Larimer County.

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Thanks to the so-called “fish ladder,” native species can now swim up a concrete ramp to get around the spillway.

CPW along with funding partners Noosa Yoghurt, Northern Water, Morning Fresh Dairy, Poudre Heritage Alliance and Trout Unlimited teamed up to make the ramp a possibility.

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Noosa Yoghurt’s Rob Graves told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas his farm has been in the family since the 1800s. He lives only half-of-a-mile up the Cache la Poudre River from the fish ramp location. He doesn’t like to fish, but wanted to invest in the river for them.

“I like throwing grass hoppers in the river, and watching the fish,” Graves said. “I am in it for the fish, and the ecology of the stream.”

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CPW’s Kyle Battige said the ramp allowed smaller native fish to get around the spillway, as they are unable to jump over the six-foot barrier.

“The native species in the Poudre River are not such strong swimmers,” Battige said. “This new structure will allow fish to swim upstream, whereas before they were not able to make that large jump. About half of the fish that we tagged have already made it up stream. So, they are using it, and it is functioning.”

“It’s really neat when you build something and watch it work,” Graves said.

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The ramp is the second of its kind in Larimer County along the Poudre. There are 14 other locations in Larimer County alone that need a fish ramp as well.

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Graves said he wanted to invest in making the ramp a reality and hoped doing more would make northern Colorado better for generations to come.

“I want to make sure what we transfer to (my grandkids) is better than what we got here,” Graves said.

Dillon Thomas


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