Evening clouds along the Yampa River in northwestern Colorado.
A kayaker charges the wave at the Steamboat Springs whitewater park.
The Gore Range, Colorado.
FRISCO —It hasn’t snowed in the past five days, so it’s probably safe to say that the short and sweet summer season has arrived in the Colorado High Country. The kayakers playing in Steamboat Springs last weekend during the Yampa Riverfest would certainly agree, and rainbows over the wetlands are another sure sign of the season. For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.
*More Summit Voice stories on the Colorado River native fish conservation program are online here.
FRISCO — State and federal biologists are considering some changes to the Colorado River Native Fish Recovery Program in the White River Basin after a discussion with stakeholders.
The endangered fish — colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker, bonytail — are already protected in the White River Basin, according to The Nature Conservancy. The changes would be a firming up of management expectations.
A similar approach has been used in other basins to ensure that current and future water needs are met for people and endangered fish. The White River management plan aims to:
identify existing and some level of future water depletions;
develop current hydrology and projected depletions to identify the effects of past and future water development on endangered fish habitat;
identify the role of the White River in recovery of endangered fish;
identify flow recommendations for endangered fish habitat in the White River; and
Federal biologists partner with Utah pipeline company to install electronic monitoring antenna in the White River
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.
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”→
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.
Wildlife managers implement voluntary fishing closure on the Yampa
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. Continue reading “Colorado: Some rivers, fish already on life support”→