A Great Day for Endangered Fish in the Grand Valley as Community Celebrates Completion of Capital Projects

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Razorback SuckerLAKEWOOD, Colo. – The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program (Recovery Program) held a dedication ceremony at the Price-Stubb Diversion Dam on the Colorado River near Grand Junction, Colo. The dedication celebrated the recent completion of a fish passage at this facility, the last remaining barrier to fish migration on the Colorado River from Utah?s Lake Powell to the upper end of critical habitat near Rifle, Colo.,  as well as completion of other capital projects in western Colorado to improve habitat for endangered fish. 

Other projects include fish passages and screens at three privately owned diversion dams; a hatchery dedicated to raising and stocking endangered fish; canal check structures that help conserve water; a barrier net at a local reservoir that provides sport fishing opportunities; and 2,700 acres of restored floodplain habitat in the Upper Colorado River Basin.

“We celebrate the completion of capital projects in Colorado’s Grand Valley to benefit endangered fish,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett.  “These projects are a result of the collaboration, cooperation, and hard work of Recovery Program partners and the community to ensure that endangered species conservation and water development and management can co-exist.”

The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) supervised all aspects of the construction of the capital projects.  Reclamation Deputy Commissioner Kris Polly said, “Reclamation has examined each project from different perspectives, tested new ideas, and have created state-of-the-art solutions for endangered fish recovery.  Today, with screens installed to prevent canal entrapment, fish can freely swim upstream with access to restored floodplain habitat.  It is a success for endangered fish recovery in the Grand Valley.”

Established in 1988, the Recovery Program is a voluntary, cooperative program whose purpose is to recover the endangered humpback chub, bonytail, Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker while water development proceeds in accordance with federal and state laws and interstate compacts.

Rare Razorback Sucker“I am a strong supporter of the Upper Colorado Endangered Fish Recovery Program because it gets results,” said Senator Wayne Allard. “The program participants dedication to recovering species is why I sponsored the legislation authorizing this program and continue to support it to this day. This program has tackled the impossible task of allowing access to water while recovering species. I’d like to congratulate program participants on the completion of the final fish passage and thank them for their work and continued dedication.”

Recovery Program partners include the States of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Park Service; Bureau of Reclamation; Western Area Power Administration; Colorado River Energy Distributors Association; and water development interests, and environmental organizations. The program received a Department of the Interior Cooperative Conservation Award on April 21, 2008.

“These projects are the fruit of the extraordinary collaboration of a broad range of citizens, stakeholders, and agencies who are working together to protect Colorado’s water and wildlife,” said Senator Ken Salazar.  “Today marks a milestone for the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program – and we should all be proud of how far we have come.  It is a great day for the Grand Valley.” 

The Recovery Program continues to manage fish habitat, work to reduce the threat of nonnative fish species while maintaining sportfishing opportunities, produce genetically diverse fish in hatcheries and stock them in the river system, and monitor and collect data on the endangered fish to measure progress toward achieving recovery goals.  The Recovery Programs’ efforts will help ensure that the endangered fishes remain an important part of the West’s heritage.

“The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program is one of the great collaborative efforts in the West,” said Congressman John Salazar.  “I am always proud to say that I represent the most beautiful district in the entire country.  Our mountains, streams, and wildlife make the state of Colorado unique.  That includes our endangered fish, native to Colorado, and found only in the Colorado River system.  They are an integral part of our heritage.”

For more information, call 303-969-7322, ext. 227 or visit the Recovery Program’s website: coloradoriverrecovery.fws.gov.