Floaters respecting Great Blue Heron rookery site — The #CrestedButte News

Heron wading in the Colorado River. Photo credit: Brent Gardner-Smith

Click the link to read the article on the Crested Butte News website (Mark Reaman). Here’s an excerpt:

It appears that not all, but most people have avoided floating the Upper Slate River during the time the Great Blue Herons were hatching and raising their young this spring and summer. According to Western Colorado University associate professor of wildlife and conservation biology Pat Magee, the voluntary avoidance of the heron rookery through July 15 was successful and as a result, 38 chicks were counted this summer. The number of floaters, especially stand up paddleboarders (SUPs), using the Upper Slate in the early summer appears to have decreased over the last three years as a result of education and awareness.

While as of this week there was still one active nest with three large and nearly flight-ready chicks, the Great Blue Heron colony is now largely gone for the summer and the voluntary period to avoid that stretch of the Slate ended in mid-July. As of early August, two nests remained active in the “lower colony” area and one of those contained three chicks. Three chicks were also counted in one nest located in the “middle colony” area and all four nests observed in the “upper colony” were done for the season by August 6.

Magee said it appears that two new nests were added to the overall colony in 2022…

Crested Butte Land Trust stewardship manager Peter Horgan said that that the community in general definitely seems to understand the situation and is respecting the no-float period. “The recommendation and request to voluntarily avoid floating the upper stretch of the Slate River past the Great Blue Heron rookery was largely honored during the 2022 floating season,” he said. “We want to express our appreciation to river users for respecting wildlife by waiting until after July 15 to float.”

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