Colorado teens aid ecological restoration and flood resilience of local river

Canyon resident Brendan Chenoweth described a two-year, $500,000 project to restore a flood-damaged portion of the North Fork of the Big Thompson River as a gift — a way to return precious habitat along the river that so many people use and love.

The project, spearheaded by Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, is wrapping up, and a crew of teens attending a fly-fishing camp this week planted trees, shrubs and grass on a section of the river about 2 miles above Drake as part of the final touches.

It’s really important,” said Lina Spiller, a 14-year-old from Fort Collins who attended the day camp put on by Rocky Mountain Flycasters, the local chapter of Trout Unlimited.

They connected with Chenoweth and other landowners and applied for state grants to redesign and rehabilitate a 2.5-mile section of the North Fork to be studied and used as an example for future projects.

Most of the land in the project is owned by the Chenoweth family and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

With $360,000 in grants and $140,000 worth of donated time and supplies, crews and volunteers have realigned and regraded the river channel to make the river and surrounding habitat healthy and more able to survive a future flood.

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