Non-native predators could threaten endangered species in Colorado River
Colorado wildlife managers will try to curb expansion of non-native northern pike in Summit County’s Green Mountain Reservoir by paying anglers a $20 bounty for each fish they deliver to the Heeney Marina.
The illegally introduced fish are taking a toll on trout in the reservoir north of Silverthorne and could escape to the Blue River and make their way to the Colorado River. That could add to the challenges of trying to recover four endangered native Colorado River fish species, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Early survey results suggest decent spawning and survival rates
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Cooperation between water users and state and federal agencies — as well as timely summer rains — helped maintain flows for four native and endangered Colorado River fish this summer.
While the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program wasn’t able to meet its dry-year flow goals of 810 cubic feet per second at Palisade, Grand Valley and upstream water managers worked cooperatively to maintain an average flow of 500 cfs this summer, well above the flows during Colorado’s last significant drought in 2002.
And warm temperatures in the river, while not optimal for non-native trout, may have helped some of the young endangered fish like the Colorado Pikeminnow put on a bit of extra weight, a key factor to surviving their first winter, said Tom Chart, director of the interagency recovery effort.
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. Continue reading “Feds issue report card on Colorado River fish recovery”→
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.