Trout Unlimited organization names White River project coordinator

Aaron True has been named the White River project coordinator for Colorado Trout Unlimited. Courtesy Photo

RBC | Colorado Trout Unlimited (TU) announced this week that they have hired Aaron True, Ph.D., as their White River project coordinator. This is a brand new position for TU.

“We’re really excited to have Aaron working for us in the basin” said Brian Hodge, TU’s northwest Colorado director of Steamboat Springs. “The White River is a priority for TU and we see great opportunity to work with private landowners and agencies on projects that benefit the river, agriculture, and fishing. Addressing the algae issue will be an important part of that.”

In this position, True, who is a specialist in water resources engineering, will plan and implement projects that improve irrigation infrastructure, increase stream flows, restore in- stream and riparian habitat, and benefit native and sport fish in the White River basin. He will work out of an office in the Hugus Building in Meeker.

“Rivers have always been a special place for me—the water, the fish, and the people I’ve enjoyed them with. I’m thrilled to work in such an incredible place as the White River Valley. I hope to be an asset for local landowners and agency partners in protecting and improving the watershed we all depend on,” said True.

“One thing I love about TU as an organization is its dedication to building relationships and finding pragmatic solutions in their projects,” said True. “They really understand that conservation needs to involve local stakeholders to solve problems and improve water resources for all. It’s a partnership model that works.”

He added, “I’m excited to get started—to meet local water users, trout fishermen, and others to discuss their needs, and learn how TU can be the best resource.”

Those interested in discussing potential projects aimed at conserving and restoring our rivers and aquatic resources, or who just want to grab a cup of coffee and chat, are invited to contact True at aaron.true@tu.org.

According to their website, TU in Colorado has over 10,000 members comprised in 23 chapters across the state. These members act as advocates and conservators for their home rivers, conducting projects in stream restoration, water quality protection, and more. On-the-ground, grassroots efforts of members and volunteers sets TU apart from many other conservation groups.

Further, TU considers northwest Colorado to hold some of the state’s finest—and healthiest—river systems. From the birthplace of “wilderness management” at Trappers Lake, to the gold-medal quality rainbow trout fishery of the Yampa River, TU says it is working to keep these great watersheds great.

Hodge, the northwest Colorado director, has partnered with ranchers and agency staff to restore streams and upgrade irrigation infrastructure in the White and Yampa basins for the past seven years. These win-win partnerships have resulted in improvements to agricultural operations, stream flows, and fish. Hodge has been participating in Rio Blanco County’s Algae Work Group which hopes to find solutions to the serious green algae blooms the river has experienced over the last several summer seasons. TU has been working since last November with the technical committee for the group which has been developing the kind of analysis they want to see the U.S. Geological Survey do on the White River situation.

True spent the last four years as a researcher in the Water Resources Engineering group at the University of Colorado Boulder. He brings 10 years of collaborative experience to the position, working with engineers and biologists on aquatic organisms and what factors and flow conditions help them thrive. Current nearby TU chapters include the Yampa Valley Fly Fishers and the Ferdinand Hayden Chapter in Glenwood Springs.