Forest Service, Trout Unlimited to hold meeting on cutthroat trout recovery projects Thursday night
Greenback cutthroat trout are Colorado’s official state fish and this Thursday federal officials and local conservationists will come together to hold an informational talk about efforts to help recover the species, once believed to have been extinct.
Thursday evening the U.S. Forest Service and representatives of the Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Grand County’s local chapter of the conservation organization, will host an informational talk about ongoing efforts to help restore Colorado’s native cutthroat trout populations. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Winter Park Pub.
“Implementation is starting this year in Grand County on a project to restore greenback-lineage cutthroat trout across approximately 37 miles of stream habitat and 106 acres of lake habitat in northcentral Colorado,” officials from the US Forest Service stated. “Restoration work will be phased over 15 years, including designing, enhancing or constructing two permanent and three temporary non-native fish barriers; removing non-native fish such as brook and brown trout that compete for food and habitat; and stocking native lineage fish, protecting the habitat until isolated native populations have established.”
Reid Armstrong, spokesperson for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, stressed that Thursday night’s talk is intended to be informational.
“This is an educational talk,” Armstrong said. “It is an opportunity to learn more about greenback-lineage cutthroat and what we have going on in the county.”
US Forest Service Fisheries Biologist Matt Fairchild will provide information to attendees. The recovery projects cover a range of efforts from the high Rockies along the Front Range and extending throughout the state. The work being undertaken to help restore cutthroat trout populations varies from location to location. Armstrong noted that work can include a suite of possible measure meant to aid the revitalization of cutthroat trout including the removal of non-native fish, creating fish barriers, constructing fish ladders and the reintroduction of various lineages of cutthroat trout.
The recovery projects are being made possible in part through a $1.25 million trust established as part of a negotiated settlement agreement between the USFS, the National Park Service and the Water Supply and Storage Company. Colorado Trout Unlimited serves as the trustee of those settlement funds.
Officials said they expect Thursday night’s talk to last roughly 15 to 20 minutes with a question and answer session and socialization to follow.
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