West Denver Trout Unlimited


March 10, 2020

Graduate Award winner to Speak at April Chapter Meeting

by: Cy Ball

April 1, Chapter Meeting

American Mountaineering Center, 710 10th Street
Golden, CO 80401

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Speaker: Tawni Riepe
Topic: Bacterial kidney disease in hatchery-reared, inland trout

Tawni Riepe is being awarded the WDTU graduate fellowship and is a Master’s Student in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University.

Tawni Riepe Bio:

Creeks, ponds, swamps, and reservoirs were the playgrounds of my childhood and the inspiration that led me to my current interest in fisheries science and disease ecology. The playground of my youth became my professional ecosystem and, as I have gained experience in aquatic biology, I have come to have a much greater, deeper appreciation of those diverse ecosystems. Early in my undergraduate education, I was exposed to fisheries research which solidified my interest in fish and disease ecology and I have been fortunate to be able to pursue my passion. During my journey I have gained valuable experience in fisheries biology, disease management, vertebrate pathogens, and even gained experience and passion in fishing for trout in Colorado’s beautiful waters! Outside of my graduate education I still find myself immersed with fish. I just finished restoring a 1956 wooden boat and take that out to enjoy fishing for the species we all work hard to conserve! Other than fishing, I also find time to play violin, piano, go skiing, rock climbing, running, or spending the afternoon with my dog.

Details about Tawni Riepe’s Research

The research I am conducting in fish disease ecology will provide guidance for species conservation among sensitive populations not only in Colorado but around the world. Disease outbreaks in fish negatively affect the rapidly growing aquaculture industry worldwide. With aquaculture making up nearly 45% of total fish production globally for commercial fishing and food production, infectious disease can cause a huge challenge. To reduce the impact of fish disease, it is necessary to a understand how disease can be transmitted in an aquaculture facility, how to test for a particular pathogen, and to provide management opportunities to ensure fish on the facilities remain healthy; which is the scope of my research. Particularly I am interested in diagnostic methods to detect the bacterial pathogen Renibacterium salmoninarum, the causative agent of Bacterial Kidney Disease, in Cutthroat Trout and how to manage this pathogen in aquaculture facilities.

Tawni’s Future Goals

My short-term goals are to complete my Master’s research and academic program with the intent of pursuing a PhD program. Through my graduate career I intend to become more broadly connected in the fish biology/ecology profession while working closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, US Geological Survey, US Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as private and nonprofit organizations. I also plan to continue engaging my efforts in outreach programs and education through student mentoring programs in Colorado Public Schools. I am now in this position as a Master’s student at CSU knowing fully I have the tools from my past experiences and the resources in my current position to pursue my all-time passion and become an aquatic research scientist while applying conservation to fisheries and disease ecology.

From Tawni

I am sincerely honored to have been selected as the recipient of this scholarship as I complete my graduate education at Colorado State University. Because of your generous gift, I am able to present the findings of my study to fish biologists in both state and federal agencies, travel to national conferences, publish my research in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and continue to engage in community outreach through science-based programs in Colorado public schools. Thank you again, your gift has changed the course of my graduate work!

Fishing Equipment Needed

Again for the 4th year WDTU will be collecting fishing equipment for native American youths. We can use any spinning or casting equipment including rods, reels, hooks, lures,, line, etc. WDTU donated this equipment to a group called One Nation Walking Together. They will distribute the equipment to native Americans youths. You can bring donations to any meeting and give it to Tim Toohey or email Tim at Tim2e@comcast.net and make arrangement to pick it up

Canned Food Drive

Bring a non-perishable food item to our Chapter meeting and get a raffle ticket for a chance to win a fabulous prize.  All food items donated will be given to the Arvada food bank.  Please be generous.