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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

September 14, 2000
Dave Erickson (303)236-8155, x 253 (available 9/15)
Carol Taylor (303) 236-8155, x 259 (available 9/18)
Sharon Rose (303) 236-7917, x 415 (available 9/18)

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT RECOMMENDS
LEADVILLE NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY
CONCENTRATE EFFORTS TO DEVELOP PROGRAM
FOR NATIVE CUTTHROAT TROUT

An environmental assessment by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine the future operation of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery in Leadville, Colorado, recommends that the hatchery concentrate its efforts on developing a native cutthroat trout broodstock and refugia for the federally threatened greenback cutthroat trout, with possible programs developed for the Colorado River and Rio Grande cutthroat trout in the future.

As discussed in the alternative preferred by the Service, the hatchery would also continue to stock trout to offset effects of the Fryingpan-Arkansas federal water project and in the Highline Reservoir near Grand Junction to support the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program. In addition, the hatchery would continue to supply recreational fishing needs on Service lands. As part of the hatchery’s future operation, the Service would also install an ultra violet light treatment system especially designed to kill whirling disease pathogens.

As part of the review process, the Service encourages the public to read and comment on the environmental assessment. Written comments should be received no later than October 16, 2000, and should be mailed to:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Attn: Leadville EA)

Fisheries Resources
P.O. Box 25486
Denver, CO 80225
303-236-8154

Copies of the environmental assessment are available for review at the Lake County Public Library, Colorado Mountain College Library, and the Lake County High School Library, all in Leadville, Colorado. The public can also request a copy of the assessment or the summary of the assessment from the Service’s Denver office.

The Leadville National Fish Hatchery is one of the oldest national hatcheries in the country. It was established in 1889 to restore depleted stocks of trout in the Upper Arkansas River, the Black Hills of South Dakota and Nebraska. More recently the hatchery has focused its work primarily on waters in Colorado.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 520 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


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