Posted on August 2, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Federal biologists partner with Utah pipeline company to install electronic monitoring antenna in the White River
The endangered Colorado pikeminnow is known to migrate up to 200 miles to spawn. The installation of a remote sensing antenna in the White River will enable researchers to determine their presence in the fishes’ historic range. Photo courtesy Joe Ferreira.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Biologists working to recover native Colorado River fish are going high tech this summer with installation of a thermoplastic antenna on the bottom of the White River in Utah. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently outlined the status of the recovery program in an annual report.
The antenna will register signals when specially tagged fish pass by, helping biologists with the recovery program gain a better understanding of how the fish are using the river. it also eliminates the stress associated with repeated capture and release.
The antenna will detect any endangered Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, bonytail and humpback chub that have a PIT tag,, (like those placed in a dog or cat at a veterinary clinic for individual identification). (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, rivers | Tagged: Colorado Pikeminnow, Colorado River, endangered fish, endangered species, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Yampa River | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 27, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
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.
Oil pipeline breaks, nonnative fish and low flows seen as key threats to recovery efforts
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal officials say they are generally satisfied with the progress on recovering four native Colorado River fish species, but concerned that the impacts of the 2012 drought could result in some setbacks to the program.
Issuing a “sufficient progress”memo, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said this week that, “with continued cooperation by all Recovery Program participants, the Recovery Program will continue to make significant strides toward recovery of the four endangered fishes.”
But flows are a significant concern, especially in dry years.
“The Recovery Program still struggles to meet flow recommendations in drought years. The Service emphasizes the importance of meeting the flow recommendation,” according to the memo, which also says that the Colorado Water Conservation Board has not yet provided a required depletion accounting report. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: biodiversity, Colorado, Colorado River, Colorado River endangered fish, endangered species, Gunnison River, Yampa River | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 26, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The Yampa River. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
Short-term leasing program program authorized under 2003 law
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The dim outlook for the Yampa River in this summer of drought just got a little brighter, thanks to a water deal announced this week by the Colorado Water Trust, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District and the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
Under a law passed back in 2003 in response to the last serious statewide drought, the water trust will lease 4,000 acre feet of water stored in Stagecoach Reservoir to try and sustain some flows in the Yampa, in the worst-case scenario potentially preventing the river from going dry.
The water will be released strategically to meet hydropower demands and for streamflow benefits below the reservoir. The water trust has been working on the short-term water leasing pilot program, Request for Water 2012, for about three months. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, rivers, climate and weather, Colorado, water, Drought | Tagged: Colorado Water Conservation Board, Yampa River, Colorado Water Trust, short-term water leasing | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 22, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Wildlife managers implement voluntary fishing closure on the Yampa
Some Colorado rivers and streams will take a hit from the drought this summer, but fishing should be fine at high elevation reservoirs like Clinton Gulch.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — During what should be the peak of the runoff season, some of Colorado’s streams and river are already on life support, including the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs, where state officials have asked anglers to observe a voluntary fishing closure.
The closure will be in effect from the upstream boundary of the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area downstream through the city limits of Steamboat Springs, and anglers are asked to avoid this area.
Ron Velarde, regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said the closure is voluntary for now and anglers are asked to avoid fishing there during the hottest part of the day, or preferably, to fish in other areas. If conditions worsen and several criteria established by regulation are met, a strict emergency closure enforced by law may become necessary. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Drought, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Blue River, Colorado, Colorado River, drought, fish, rivers, Yampa River | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 18, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
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.
Agencies won’t be able to operate crucial fish passages this summer
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Historic low river flows already have put the squeeze on endangered native Colorado River fish in key tributaries like the Yampa, and the fish could take another hit because there won’t be enough water during parts of the summer to operate fish passages that enable species like the Colorado pikeminnow to reach spawning areas.
Along with the pikeminnow, the razorback sucker, bonytail and humpback chub are listed as endangered and under the jurisdiction of a cooperative, federal-led recovery effort. The four fish once ranged widely throughout the Colorado River Basin, but construction of dams and massive diversions destroyed most of their habitat. The native fish have also faced fierce competition from non-native fish. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, endangered species, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado River, Colorado River endangered fish, drought, endangered species, Gunnison River, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Yampa River | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 18, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
The Vermillion Basin in northwest Colorado will be protected from energy development under a new BLM management plan for the area. PHOTO COURTESY CENTER FOR NATIVE ECOSYSTEMS/ROCKY MOUNTAIN WILD.
Vermillion Basin protected; 22 miles of Yampa identified as suitable for wild and scenic status
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new plan for 2.3 million acres BLM lands in northwestern Colorado protects some of the region’s natural resources but still leaves 90 percent of the land open to potential oil and gas drilling.
In a key victory for conservation groups and local residents, the prized 77,000-acre Vermillion Basin will be protected, along with Cold Springs Mountain, and the Diamond Breaks. The plan also found that 22 miles of the Yampa River are suitable for inclusion in the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers system, good news for the thousands of visitors that come to the region every year to float or fish on this iconic western river.
“While we are pleased to see Vermillion Basin protected, we are dismayed that the plan still opens around 90 percent of the resource area to oil and gas drilling, leaving 10 percent for the myriad other uses of these amazing lands,” said Soren Jespersen of The Wilderness Society. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, Environment, public lands, Summit County news | Tagged: Bureau of Land management, Colorado, Colorado Mountain Club, Environment, Summit County News, Vermillion Basin, Wilderness Society, Yampa River | Leave a Comment »