While we are still unable to get folks together in person around Colorado, we wanted to continue to provide a chance to get to know our wonderful staff here at Colorado Water Trust.
Next up is Tony LaGreca, our Projects Manager who joined us last spring and has been out and about the state since then keeping our various projects moving from the field.
Q: You’ve been on and off in Colorado for a while, what has been the biggest change you’ve noticed?
When I left Buena Vista (BV) it was a sleepy little town that was busy in the summer but quiet the rest of the year. I first ended up back in BV on a random weekend in April and there were hundreds of people walking around downtown. I couldn’t believe it! My quiet little town had been discovered.
Q: You’ve guided many river trips, what was the most unusual request you’ve ever gotten while guiding?
Every now and then you end up guiding a boat where none of the customers speak english or speak very little english. I had one family from the Czech Republic who spoke a little english and I was telling them to paddle hard because of the big rapid coming up. Rather than paddle they all looked at the river banks and quit paying attention to my commands. We made it through the rapid (barely) and I tried to tell them they needed to paddle better in the big rapids. One of them said “When you say big rapid you mean big waves in the river?” and made a wave motion with her hand. I said yes. She laughed and said “We thought you meant big rabbits!” and put up two fingers behind her head. She translated to her friends and we all had a big laugh.
Q: Tell us a good fish story (Tony’s known around here as the fish guy…)
Working for Trout Unlimited in Oregon everyone always assumed I was a big fisherman and would ask me for fishing advice, they were always disappointed when I told them I did not know how to fish. Once I was with a crew of fish biologists sampling a stream using an electro fisher (a machine that sends a current through the water to temporarily stun fish so they can be netted and tagged) and we had been getting a bunch of 3 to 5 inch fish. Suddenly a huge 24 inch brown trout jumped out right at my feet and I screamed like a 4 year old. All of the biologists had a good laugh at the guy from Trout Unlimited.
Q: What part of your background have you found most useful in your work here at Colorado Water Trust?
In Oregon I worked primarily on restoration projects on rivers flowing through cattle ranches. The daily interactions with ranchers on a variety of different projects really helped me to better understand how a ranch really works and to appreciate all the hard work ranchers put in to grow food for us. I think that background is really helping me work with our partners on the Little Cimarron River as we work to restore flows and keep lands in agricultural production.
Q: How have you been passing the time during quarantine?
Reading the Colorado Water Trust Newsletters. Hiking. Yard work. Learning to find focus while my son is watching Scooby Doo in my office (aka the dining room in our small open floorplan house).
Q: What are you most looking forward to this summer?
From a work perspective traveling around the state to monitor our permanent projects which are in some of the most beautiful parts of the state. When I am not working, multi-day raft trips on the Green and San Juan Rivers with my family and friends.
Take care everyone, keep loving your rivers!