A proposal to begin a fish stocking program was recently supported by the Parker Water & Sanitation District Board of Directors marking a milestone at Rueter-Hess Reservoir. Rueter-Hess is an off-stream dam and reservoir on Newlin Gulch, a tributary of Cherry Creek. The District’s initial purpose in stocking the reservoir is part of the aquatic vegetation management plan, required by the District’s Environmental Impact Statement. Ron Redd, District Manager, stated that “The reservoir’s volume has now reached a point that we are comfortable with implementing the stocking plan.” Presently, the reservoir holds nearly 20,000 acre-feet of water; an acre-foot of water is enough to sustain the annual use for two families. The approved fish stocking plan was developed by Aquatics Associates, Inc. with the initial plan implemented over the next five years, 2015-2019. The recommended phased approach, or base plan, is to first stock the reservoir with forage species including fathead minnows and bluegill. Each stocking phase, at an anticipated cost of $27,000-$29,000, will span four consecutive years, with populations expanding on their own as the reservoir increases with size. Other game fish will be introduced in 2016 or later, including, but not necessarily limited to, channel catfish and rainbow trout. Stocking largemouth bass in 2017 will help to maintain a balanced and successful fishery. PWSD Director Bill Wasserman shared that “Stocking the fish in phases, over time, will provide an opportunity to establish a successful ecosystem for the reservoir, thereby increasing the success of an overall future stocking program. And, will provide for outstanding recreational fishing opportunities a few years down the road!” The goal of the stocking plan is to create a healthy recreational fishery that includes an appropriate balance of forage and game fish species. While most of the fish species stocked will be naturally reproducing, to sustain this fishery under various levels of fishing pressure, fishing regulations and some future supplemental stocking will be required; all decisions which will need to be addressed in the future. The fishery biologists at Aquatics Associates predict that in future years to come, the reservoir will be able to support up to 20 pound rainbow trout. Recreation: An Intergovernmental Agreement to create the Rueter-Hess Recreation Authority is presently under consideration by the Towns of Parker and Castle Rock, the Cities of Castle Pines and Lone Tree, and Douglas County. Once formalized, this collaborative, regional Authority’s first charge is to create a Recreational Master Plan for the reservoir, anticipated to be a one-year project. Although supportive of bringing in a recreational component to the reservoir, the PWSD Board has already expressed its desire to maintain a “tranquil and serene” environment at the reservoir, in an attempt to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife population in the area.