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Morning photo: Best and brightest?

Kodachrome moments in Colorado

buff sunset

As Dillon Reservoir filled, it inundated shoreline meadows, creating a weird dynamic ecosystem at water’s edge. Rapid, cyclical fluctuations in water levels is part of what makes reservoirs big sources of greenhouse gases.

FRISCO — So many spots, so close to home! What a blessing, as a photographer, to live in an area with so many photo ops, from daisies bathed by the morning sun, to the warm alpenglow on Peak 1. The daisies, of course, are growing right outside our front door in a raised flowerbed in one of the most densely populated areas in Summit County. All the rest of the shots are taken within a few miles our Frisco home, Enjoy!

dew drops on daisies ...

dew drops on daisies …

Same sunset, different angle, different Instagram filter.

Same sunset, different angle, different Instagram filter.

Early morning Columbine along Swan Mountain Road.

Early morning Columbine along Swan Mountain Road.

cooling it off!

cooling it off!

 

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Upper Arkansas gets gold medal fishery status

Fishing for brookies at Officers Gulch Pond, in Summit County, Colorado.

Colorado gets new Gold Medal trout fishery.

Restoration efforts yield big gains in Colorado

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Restoration efforts along the Arkansas River have paid sweet dividends for trouts and anglers, as state officials last week designated a 102-mile stretch of the river as a Gold Medal fishery.

The designation has been 20 years in the making, and although anglers have enjoyed the improved conditions for years, it is an official acknowledgement of the myriad efforts undertaken by state and federal agencies to turn an impaired river into one of the most popular fishing destinations in Colorado.

With the addition of the Arkansas River, total Gold Medal stream miles in Colorado increases by 50 percent to 322 total miles. It will also be the longest reach of Gold Medal water in the State. Continue reading

Colorado biologists tackle Lake Granby kokanee salmon decline

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Kokanee salmon caught at Green Mountain Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Public meetings on Lake Granby fishery set for early spring

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists say they’re considering changes to fishing regulations in Lake Granby to try and recover the population of kokanee salmon in the popular lake.

The number of salmon eggs collected by biologists in Lake Granby has dropped from 4 million in 2006 down to just 350,000 this year, not enough to maintain the existing population, let alone stock any other Colorado lakes with kokanee.

Kokanee are land-locked Pacific sockeye salmon found in several high-elevation reservoirs in Colorado. The fish feed primarily on zooplankton. But a booming population of mysis shrimp and predation by lake trout are probably the main factors in the Lake Granby kokanee decline. Continue reading

It’s free fishing weekend in Colorado

Fishing for brookies at Officers Gulch Pond, in Summit County, Colorado.

Fishing for brookies at Officers Gulch Pond, in Summit County, Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.

No license needed June 1-2

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — There’s no better way to start the summer than by wetting a line in one of Colorado’s sparkling streams or lakes, and to celebrate the start of the angling season, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is once again offering free fishing this weekend (June 1-2).

Each year, the agency designates the first weekend in June as the only two-day period that anglers all around the state are not required to have a fishing license. For the rest of the year a fishing license is required for anyone 16 years and older. Check all the Colorado Parks and Wildlife fishing online here and check out this guide for popular Summit County fishing spots here. Continue reading

Colorado: Celebrating migratory birds

May is prime-time for our fine-feathered friends

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Itinerant shorebirds sometimes wind up at Dillon Reservoir, in Summit County, Colorado, for a short stop-over. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — If you’ve been hearing a lot of chirping and twittering in the great outdoors these days, it’s  because the birds are back. More specifically, dozens of species of migratory birds are on the move, headed for nesting grounds in North America from non-breeding areas in South and Central America, and the Caribbean.

That’s why birders are gearing up for International Migratory Bird Day, held each year on the second Saturday in May as a way to recognize the winged wonders that travel the globe each spring and fall, migrating thousands of miles from their wintering grounds to nesting grounds and back again. Continue reading

Colorado: Drones eyed for greater sage-grouse monitoring

Public invited to learn more about the use of unmanned aircraft at a demonstration in Kremmling

FORT scientist and Raven-A sUAS pilot Leanne Hanson launches the drone. USGS photo.

FORT scientist and Raven-A sUAS pilot Leanne Hanson launches the drone in the San Luis Valley as part of an effort to monitor sandhill cranes.  USGS photo.

Greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy USFWS.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — State and federal scientists may use small drones to monitor greater sage-grouse in their breeding grounds, and will offer the public a chance to see how the technology works starting next week.

The planned test flights are a collaboration between Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Geological Survey. The agencies will conduct test flights to evaluate whether the small unmanned aircraft can save time and money and offer a safer and enhanced alternative to gather greater sage-grouse data.

The low-flying aircraft may be able to get more detailed counts of the threatened birds, and may even help biologists find previously unknown leks.

“The aircraft proved successful in other recent wildlife inventory projects conducted by USGS,” said Lyle Sidener, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Hot Sulphur Springs. “We are interested to see if greater sage-grouse will tolerate the craft flying near their leks at the lower altitudes necessary to provide useful data.” Continue reading

Colorado: Meeker outfitter gets jail time for baiting game

Outfitter Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh sentenced to 41 months in prison for numerous wildlife violations

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A Colorado hunting will lose his business, go to jail and pay big fines for baiting deer and elk. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — In a classic tale of poacher versus game warden, a Meeker man apparently carried on a hunting business using illegal baiting to lure wildlife for his out-of-state clients, perhaps for as long as 20 years.

After other local residents tipped them off, state and federal agents launched an eight-year investigation that culminated last week, when U.S. District Court Judge Christine Arguello sentencing Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh, 72, owner of D & S Outfitters of Meeker, to 41 months in federal prison. He must also pay $37,390 in restitution to the state and forfeit two all-terrain vehicles and a trailer used in the commission of his crimes.

In September 2012, a federal jury in Denver found Rodebaugh guilty of six felony violations of the Lacey Act, a federal law that prohibits the transportation of illegally taken wildlife across state lines.

Baiting wildlife is illegal in Colorado and most of Rodebaugh’s clients were out-of-state hunters. As part of his sentence, Rodebaugh must also pay a $7500 fine that will go to the Lacey Act Reward Fund.

“This individual showed grievous disregard for wildlife laws, a considerable lack of ethics and he never expressed remorse,” said lead investigator Bailey Franklin, district wildlife manager in Meeker. “It took tremendous resources and man-hours to bring him to justice and we are very satisfied with the sentence.” Continue reading

Colorado: New wildlife roundtable forming

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Colorado mule deer browsing. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

State resource managers seek input from hunters and anglers

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —With deer herds in northwestern Colorado declining and the state’s trout likely facing another long, dry summer, wildlife managers may be looking at some tough choices in the months ahead.

To get some input from active hunters and anglers in the region, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is putting together regional caucuses to meet and discuss wildlife issues with managers, biologists and agency officials, with an upcoming meeting set for Feb. 20 in Grand Junction (6 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel, 755 Horizon Drive).

In addition to the wildlife-related discussion, attendees will select two delegates to represent the region’s wildlife concerns at the newly formed Sportsmen’s Roundtable to be held in Denver next month. The roundtable will provide hunters and anglers from the four regions of the state with direct access to agency officials, including wildlife commissioners. Continue reading

Biodiversity: Feds propose endangered species listing, critical habitat designation for rare Gunnison sage-grouse

Colorado wildlife officials disappointed by listing proposal

Colorado Gunnison Sage-grouse critical habitat map

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating about 1.7 million acres of critical habitat for Gunnison sage-grouse in Colorado and Utah.

Gunnison sage-grouse

A male Gunnison sage-grouse struts as part of its spring mating ritual. Photo courtesy BLM.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite ongoing voluntary conservation measures, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said this week that the best available science indicates that the Gunnison sage-grouse is in danger of extinction and needs protection under the Endangered Species Act.

By some estimates, there are only about 4,000 to 5,000 of the iconic western birds remaining, scattered in eight small population pockets in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. As a result, the USFWS has proposed listing the species as endangered and also proposed designating about 1.7 million acres of critical habitat.

The proposal triggers a 60-day public comment period, with input due by March 12. The agency will also hold a series of public meetings to take input from residents and landowners in areas that could be affected by the listing. The meetings will likely be held in Gunnison, Montrose, Delta and Cortez, Colorado, or in Monticello, Utah and will be advertised at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/. Continue reading

Colorado: Conservation easement on 15,000-acre Moffat County ranch to protect critical big game winter range

Pronghorn antelope foraging in sagebrush habitat near Gunnison Colorado. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

GOCO, feds and state pitch in on major conservation deal

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A new conservation easement on the 15,000-acre Tuttle Ranch in Moffat County will help protect important wildlife habitat and winter range while allowing ranching operations to continue.

The ranch encompasses sagebrush steppe, foothills grassland and pinyon-juniper woodlands, with habitat for greater sage-grouse and critical winter range for elk, mule deer and pronghorn.

The conservation easement was purchased from the RSH Land Company LLC, with a combination of funds from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado. Continue reading

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