Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

May 9, 2008

Contact:  Debbie Felker, Recovery Program, 303-969-7322, ext. 227

              Randy Hampton, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 970-255-6162

 

BIOLOGISTS RESUME RESEARCH STUDIES IN

COLORADO AND UTAH IN EFFORT TO

RECOVER ENDANGERED FISH

 

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program (Recovery Program) announced today that research studies have resumed in sections of river in the Upper Colorado River Basin in Colorado and Utah to help recover four species of endangered fish – the humpback chub, bonytail, Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker.

 

Biologists from the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State University, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct this year’s work. 

 

“People who live along the rivers and who enjoy boating, fishing and other forms of recreation, may see these crews and wonder what they’re doing,” said Recovery Program Director Bob Muth.  “We want people to know that these are researchers who are gathering important data that will help us measure the effectiveness of management actions we are taking to recover these rare fishes.”

 

One study addresses management of nonnative smallmouth bass and northern pike populations in portions of the Colorado, Duchesne, Green, White and Yampa rivers in the states of Colorado and Utah. Depending on the river reach, biologists will remove smallmouth bass and/or northern pike.  In Colorado, biologists will relocate fish to ponds or reservoirs wherever possible to provide sportfishing opportunities. 

 

“Although there are more than 50 nonnative fish species in the Upper Colorado River Basin, northern pike and smallmouth bass are two species that pose a significant threat to the endangered fishes according to our research,” said Recovery Program Nonnative Fish Coordinator Tom Chart.  “These two species are active predators known to eat other fishes, including the endangered fishes.  They also compete for food and space in the rivers.”

 

In other studies, estimates of the abundance of Colorado pikeminnow and humpback chub will take place.  Biologists are working in the Colorado, Green, White and Yampa rivers to collect data on Colorado pikeminnow.  Humpback chub estimates will occur in the Colorado River in Westwater Canyon and Black Rocks in western Colorado and eastern Utah.

 

 All Recovery Program management actions are developed and implemented according to recovery goals that provide objective, measurable criteria for downlisting to “threatened” and delisting (removal from Endangered Species Act protection).  Results of both the nonnative fish management and abundance estimate studies are used to track progress toward achieving these goals, to assess the effectiveness of management actions and to adjust recovery efforts through adaptive management.

 

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

 

Established in 1988, the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program is a voluntary, cooperative program whose purpose is to recover the endangered fishes while water development proceeds in accordance with federal and state laws and interstate compacts.  For more information, call 303-969-7322, ext. 227 or visit the Recovery Program’s website: coloradoriverrecovery.fws.gov.  

             

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