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Colorado: Celebrate wildlife at Grand Mesa Moose Day

Moose biology and history featured at event, along with kids activities

Moose near the headwaters of the Fraser River, Grand County, Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado wildlife enthusiasts will once again gather this weekend to celebrate the state’s growing moose population at the second annual Grand Mesa Moose Day.

“As their population continues to grow in Colorado, people’s interest has increased as well,” said Parks and Wildlife watchable wildlife coordinator Trina Romero. “Moose sightings can be a great experience and we encourage people to learn more about them and how to watch them safely.” Continue reading

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Colorado: Discarded fishing line deadly to wildlife

Tangled fishing line left behind by careless anglers is a common sight at popular fishing spots, and dozens of animals die as a result of this problem.

Tangled remnants of monofilament can be recycled with Berkley

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s been great fun the last couple of years watching my son’s growing enthusiasm for fishing. In the warm part of the year, it’s become an important part of our father and son time. Along with the occasional thrill of catching a fish, we explore new spots and we have time to just sit and talk.

But one thing that’s always bothered me is the tremendous amount of garbage left behind at popular angling spots, especially the easily accessible shoreline venues along Dillon Reservoir. I’ve been harping on this to my son since he could walk and talk, and I’m proud to say he’s become quite the anti-litterbug — to the point that I’ve heard him call out people on the chairlift at A-Basin when he sees them drop a candy wrapper.

Included in that shoreline debris I often find tangled wads of fishing line. In a few areas, it’s become ubiquitous. This is a big problem. Of course, the line doesn’t biodegrade, but even worse, dozens of birds and small mammals get tangled in the line and die every year in Colorado. There’s really no excuse for this. Continue reading

Colorado: Legal battle over bat caves brewing

Conservation group files lawsuit challenging BLM permits to visit caves

A battle over protecting bats and bats caves is brewing in Colorado. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — State and federal resource managers in Colorado have been at odds over a decision to permit the National Speleological Society to visit several caves later this month when the caving group holds its annual convention in Glenwood Springs. A national conservation group, the Center for Biological Diversity, is now challenging the permit in federal court.

Despite warnings from the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the federal Bureau of Land Management last month issued a permit for  several caves on BLM land in the northwestern part of the state.

According to the BLM, the caves are not used extensively by bats. but state biologists said previously there has been some documented use of the caves by Townsend’s big-eared bats, a species of special concern in Colorado. Click here to read about state bat conservation efforts. The CDOW white-nose syndrome response plan can also be seen here.

The cavers — a conscientious group — have agreed to strict conditions to try and protect bat populations from the spread of white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease that’s wiping out bats in the eastern part of the U.S. Bats play a key ecosystem role by pollinating many commercial crops and wild plants, and by keeping insect populations in check. Read this story to learn more. Continue reading

Colorado: Vail Pass lakes stocked with big rainbow trout

Stocking trout at Black Lake, near Vail Pass, Colorado.

Reservoirs and lakes offer good fishing while stream flows remain high

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —While high flows have dampened the fishing in many high country streams, anglers are reporting good catches from area lakes.

Vail Pass could be a hot spot after the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District recently  stocked Black Lakes with 5,000 pounds of catchable-size rainbow trout in the past few weeks

This past week, the District coordinated the second stocking of 2,500 pounds of 10-16 inch long rainbow trout into the two Black Lakes. The first 2,500 pounds of trout were stocked on June 21. The fishery supplying the trout says the 5,000 pounds equates to about 2,000 fish. Continue reading

Colorado: Aspen-area habitat restoration project gets OK

A massive habitat restoration project in the Roaring Fork Valley will improve habitat for bighorn sheep and other wildlife with mechanical treatments and controlled burns.

Forest Service tackles 10-year project in the Roaring Fork Valley

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With development rapidly eating up wildlife habitat along the bottomlands of Roaring Fork Valley, the U.S. Forest Service is going to try and make some large-scale improvements on national forest lands during the coming decade.

White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams last week approved the Aspen-Sopris Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project, which will use a combination of mechanical treatments and controlled burns to reinvigorate vegetation and improve wildlife conditions for bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk and a variety of other native wildlife that inhabit fire-adapted vegetation communities. All the environmental documents for the project are online at the WRNF website. Continue reading

New Colorado state wildlife & parks board to meet

A northern goshawk in the forest near Breckenridge, Colorado. PHOTO BY JENNEY COBERLY.

July 7 – 8 meeting set to discuss merger of agencies, elect officers and conduct regular business

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The first meeting of the new combined Colorado Parks and Wildlife Board will include the election of officers that will set regulations and policies for the new Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, as well as a two-hour discussion about the merger of the former Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks.

The two-day meeting is July 7 and July 8 at the Hunter Education Building, located at the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife’s campus at 6060 North Broadway. Audio from the meeting will be streamed live online at the wildlife commission website. Continue reading

Colorado: Big game habitat improvement grants awarded

Projects aim to reduce conflicts between ranchers, game animals

The Colorado Division of Wildlife has awarded $500,000 in grants for habitat improvement projects on private lands.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Grants worth $500,000 from the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program will be put toward improving wildlife habitat by treating brushy areas, weed control, water developments and reseeding with a goal of increasing available habitat and forage for big-game animals.

The recipients of this year’s grants are:
•    White River National Forest Milk Creek Enhancement Project near Meeker;
•    Rio Grande National Forest San Luis Valley Water Development project near Saguache;
•    Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest Uncompahgre Plateau Habitat Restoration project;
•    Uncompahgre Partnerships North Rim Landscape Restoration project near Hotchkiss; and,
•    Three Rivers Alliances Russian olive and tamarisk removal project in Yuma County. Continue reading

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