Pueblo Board of Water Works ponies up $12,226 for the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Program

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

…the water board has contributed to the Colorado River endangered fish program for many years, joining other Front Range water users who import water across the Continental Divide through a program sponsored by the Colorado Water Congress. The program, started in 1988, assures compliance with the federal Endangered Species Act. Last year, it received authorization for $15 million in federal funding through 2023. This year, the Pueblo water board’s share of the budget was $12,226.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined in 1983 that Colorado River flows needed to be restored to 1960 levels in order to save four vanishing species: the humpback chub, bonytail, razorback sucker and Colorado pikeminnow (formerly Colorado squawfish). The fish were a substantial source of food for early Coloradans, as described in a Fish and Wildlife report of historical accounts, and once called “white salmon” by the locals, said Bud O’Hara, division manager of water resources for the water board. The fish were the catch of choice until the 1940s, when trout and catfish became preferable species, and people referred to the endangered species as “trash fish,” according to the report. Efforts to restore the fish are paying off, O’Hara told the board. One tagged fish swam more than 480 miles thanks to fish ladders that have been added at some points on the Colorado River…

The money supplied to the Colorado Water Congress efforts funds programs such as providing 10,825 acre-feet of water to a critical reach above Grand Junction and to pay for a technical coordinator to monitor compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act for water providers.

More Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program coverage here and here.

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