Grand Junction Colorado River Fishery Project
Mountain-Prairie Region

The San Juan River upstream of Bluff, Utah. Photo by D. Ryden

The Colorado River Fishery Project – Grand Junction (CRFP) was established in 1979 to conduct research and management activities to benefit four endangered fish species in the upper Colorado River Basin. It was expanded in 1992 to include spawning and rearing facilities for the endangered fish. The CRFP is a research and management field station; the Ouray National Fish Hatchery – Grand Valley Unit, is the fish propagation center. Together, they comprise the Grand Junction Fisheries Office. The Geographic scope of the Grand Junction station includes the Colorado, Gunnison and San Juan rivers of Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. Its Utah sister station, Colorado River Fishery Project – Vernal, similarly covers the Green, Yampa and White rivers of Utah and Colorado.

Electrofishing on the Colorado River downstream of Moab, Utah. Photo by D. OsmundsonThe CRFP mission is to identify and implement methods to recover the endangered Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius), humpback chub (Gila cypha), bonytail (Gila elegans), and razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus). Species will be considered recovered when populations are self-sustaining in the wild, threats are reduced, and adult numbers are sufficient to maintain long-term genetic diversity. Ultimately, the goal is for these fish to no longer need the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

CRFP field station activities include basin-wide monitoring of rare fish populations and their habitats, basic life-history and management-oriented research, instream-flow assessments and recommendations, database management and analyses, and fish propagation. Primary conservation projects in recent years include assessing status and trends of Colorado pikeminnow and humpback chub populations, reducing the impacts of introduced fish on native species, restoring fish passage over diversion dams, and rearing and stocking razorback sucker to augment declining populations in the wild.


The upper Colorado River Basin, where four endangered fish species live.  Illustration by D. Osmundson

Last updated: April 19, 2013