Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region


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

May 14, 2009

CONTACT:  Kara Lamb (970-962-4326)


                     Michelle Garrison (303-866-3441, ext. 3213)



Releases for Endangered Fish Begin Today


LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Coordinated releases from a series of Upper Colorado River Basin reservoirs begin today and are anticipated to carry on at least through the weekend as part of the Coordinated Reservoirs Operations Program. Managers of the reservoirs completed a conference call today, agreeing to voluntarily run the program this year. The program benefits the endangered fish of the Upper Colorado River Basin.


Green Mountain and Ruedi reservoirs, operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, will be the first to pass on inflow from melting snow to the Colorado River.  Denver Water, the municipal subdistrict of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, and the Colorado River Water Conservation District are also monitoring inflow to determine when and how much their reservoirs might contribute. A second announcement from the collaborating agencies is expected next week.


Both Ruedi and Green Mountain reservoirs will increase their releases today. Ruedi will continue to bump up releases in 50 cubic-foot-per-second (cfs) increments twice a day until it reaches 650 cfs on Monday. Similarly, Green Mountain will bump up releases by 100 cfs a day until it reaches 600 cfs, also on Monday.


The Coordinated Reservoir Operations program was established in 1995 as part of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program.  Its purpose is to enhance spring peak flows in a section of the Colorado River upstream of Grand Junction, Colo., determined critical to the survival of the four endangered fish species. In years when snowpack is above average, surplus inflows to the reservoirs can be passed on downstream to these endangered fish: humpback chub, bonytail, Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker.  


For more information, contact Kara Lamb, Bureau of Reclamation’s Eastern Colorado Area Office, at

(970) 962-4326,; or Michelle Garrison, Colorado Water Conservation Board at (303) 866-3441, ext. 3213,


The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program is a cooperative partnership of local, state and federal agencies, water developers, 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.