Low flows increase predation by non-native game fish; recovery effort could see temporary setback
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service biological technician Rick Smaniotto captured this endangered Colorado pikeminnow in a fish passage at the Redlands Water and Power Company Diversion Dam on the Gunnison River near Grand Junction, Colo., on July 3, 2002. The fish weighed 16.8 pounds and measured 37 inches. After collecting research data, the fish was tagged and returned to the river. PHOTO COURTESY USFWS.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Ben Schleicher holds an endangered bonytail captured in the Gunnison River in western Colorado in 2011. Bonytail are being raised in hatcheries and stocked in Upper Colorado River Basin rivers in an effort to establish self-sustaining populations. PHOTO COURTESY UPPER COLORADO RIVER ENDANGERED FISH RECOVERY PROGRAM.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — With 2012 shaping up to be at least a near-record drought year in the high country, some of the Colorado River’s endangered native fish could be facing a battle for survival, especially in key tributaries like the Yampa, in northwestern Colorado.
As flows are reduced to a trickle, the Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, and especiallly the humpback chub and bonytail chub, will face serious threats from competing non-native species.
But they’ll get a little help from Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program biologists, who will be doing their best to remove remove smallmouth bass, northern pike, and in some areas, white sucker, walleye and burbot. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, endangered species, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Bonytail chub, Colorado, Colorado Pikeminnow, Colorado River Basin, Colorado River endangered fish recovery, drought, razorback sucker, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program | Leave a comment »