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A new fish ladder (left side) on the Poudre River at the Bellvue-Watson State Wildlife Area & Watson Lake will reconnect more than 2 miles of the Poudre River, improving ecosystem health and fish habitat (Photo by Jordan Williams).


On May 1, 2019, Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) staff joined with partners and community members at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of a new fish ladder at the Bellvue-Watson State Wildlife Area and Watson Lake. The new structure helps to connect fragmented sections of the Poudre River and improve aquatic habitat for fish.

This fish ladder will help the following species:
· Longnose dace
· Longnose suckers
· White suckers
· Brown trout
· Rainbow trout

“Outside of the benefits to aquatic life, this project is important as it showcases the feasibility of fish passage at these large diversion structures and will hopefully further momentum for these types of projects,” said CPW Aquatic Biologist Kyle Battige. “It also serves as an example of the collaboration and team effort from multiple entities that these large-scale conservation projects will have to have in order to be successful in today’s world.”

Kathleen Benedict, Executive Director of the Poudre Heritage Alliance, helps to unveil the new fish ladder at Watson Lake.

PHA will provide a grant to fund the interpretive signage at the site of the fish ladder to help tell the story of water management in the area and how diversion structures still have many uses today, including for agricultural users like project partners Morning Fresh Dairy and Noosa.

Signage and interpretation is an important educational program of the Poudre Heritage Alliance. By supporting facility enhancements along the trails, the Cache la Poudre River NHA will continue to be a premiere local and national attraction as the trail corridor truly becomes a cohesive Heritage Trail.

We hope this will be the first of many fish ladders along the Poudre River that can help to improve the health of the river’s ecosystem.

This project was made possible by Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), along with funding partners noosa yoghurt, Northern Water, Morning Fresh Dairy, Poudre Heritage Alliance and Trout Unlimited.




For more information about PHA and this project please contact Megan Maiolo-Heath, Communications Coordinator, at