Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

 UPPER COLORADO RIVER ENDANGERED FISH RECOVERY PROGRAM

August 27, 2010

CONTACT: Justyn Hock, 970-248-0625

                    Michelle Shaughnessy, 970-245-9319, Ext. 19

 

                         

Antennas at Price-Stubb Fish Passage Monitor

Endangered Fish Movement to Critical Habitat

 

LAKEWOOD-Colo. -- The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program (Recovery Program) announced today that a new passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag system is operational at a fish passage at the Price-Stubb Diversion Dam on the Colorado River in western Colorado. The system monitors the movement of endangered fish that are PIT tagged. A PIT tag is similar to a small microchip placed in a dog or cat at a veterinary clinic for individual identification if lost.

 

Installed the week of August 9, 2010, the system consists of four, 6-foot by 5-foot antennas attached to the box culvert at the top of the fish passage.  Biomark, Inc. designed the system to detect PIT tags to track whether fish are moving up or down the Price-Stubb Fish Passage.  The system provides remote sensing and is built to withstand the flows and debris of the Colorado River.

 

“Because the fish passage is located adjacent to an interstate highway, this type of research tool is a safe, cost-effective way to monitor fish movement in the fish passage,” said Recovery Program Research Coordinator Tom Czapla.

 

The system became operational on August 12, 2010. Four days later, the first PIT-tagged fish – an endangered Colorado pikeminnow -- used the passage. Data obtained at Price-Stubb and other locations show that this fish swam 130 river miles during the past year.

 

“We anticipate receiving important information about all four species of endangered fish from this remotely sensed structure,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Project Leader Michelle Shaughnessy. “Most of the endangered fish are PIT-tagged and this tracking system will help identify the type and number of species that move through the fish passage and inhabit this river reach.”

 

Construction of the Price-Stubb fish passage was completed in the summer of 2008 and was the last barrier to fish migration in 290 miles of the Colorado River from Utah’s Lake Powell to the upper end of critical habitat near Rifle, Colo.

                                                                                                            

The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program is a cooperative partnership of local, state and federal agencies, water organizations, power customers and environmental groups established in 1988 to recover the endangered fishes while water development proceeds in accordance with federal and state laws and interstate compacts. For more information, 303-969-7322, or ColoradoRiverRecovery.org.

 

 

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NOTE to editors:  Three photos are available by contacting Justyn Hock, 970-248-0625, jhock@usbr.gov:

 

  1. Colorado pikeminnow
  2. Price-Stubb fish passage
  3. Antenna system at Price-Stubb fish passage