Watson Lake Fish Bypass
A collaborative effort among the participants of the Northern Integrated Supply Project, Morning Fresh Dairy, noosa yoghurt and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is helping to improve the habitat on the Poudre River.
This fish bypass was installed at the diversion dam adjacent to Watson Lake and the CPW fish hatchery nearby. The new fish passage fulfills one of the promises made by the NISP participants to improve the Poudre River, outlined in the NISP Fish and Wildlife Mitigation and Enhancement Plan.
Crews broke ground on the $850,000 project in December 2018, and it was completed and operating by March 2019.
Through the project, two segments of the river that had been disconnected by the diversion barrier are now reconnected, which will improve several facets of that stretch: ecosystem health, angler access, public safety and public education.
Designed by OneFish Engineering, the fish bypass provides upstream fish movement through the diversion structure for all species present within the river reach, including longnose dace, longnose suckers, white suckers, brown trout and rainbow trout.
Additionally, the State Wildlife Area and Hatchery, where this project is located, receives a lot of visitors, whether they are fishermen, birders or families enjoying nature. Onsite educational material discussing the fish passage will be an important component of the project, providing a learning experience for school children and all other visitors.
Media Coverage from Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for the Watson Lake Fish Bypass
- Ramp helps small fish move upstream along Cache la Poudre River – CBS 4 Denver News
- New fish ladder will improve ecosystem at Watson Lake, CPW says – ABC 7 Denver News
- Poudre River fish ladder reconnects 2 miles of fish habitat near Fort Collins – Fort Collins Coloradoan