Colorado River District hopes for help with fish |

Colorado River District hopes for help with fish

John Colson
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A former engineer with the Colorado River District said this week that he believes there is plenty of water in the river to prevent the extinction of four endangered fish species.

But, said Dave Merritt, now serving as the Garfield County representative on the river district’s board of directors, there still is a need to raise $500,000 in a “cost-sharing arrangement” to pay for a federal environmental assessment required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

And it all must be finished up before the expiration of an existing agreement between the Denver Water Board and the Colorado River District, which together provide 10,825 acre feet each year to keep ample water in a stretch of the river known as the 15-mile Reach east of Grand Junction, which is the habitat of the fish.

The issue is the ongoing effort to prevent the extinction of four species of fish in the Colorado River – the razorback sucker, the bonytail chub, the Colorado pike minnow and the humpback chub.

The effort goes back to the 1980s, Merritt said, when the Bureau of Reclamation “reserved” 21,650 acre feet of water in the federally controlled Ruedi Reservoir, on the Fryingpan River above Basalt, to be used for the preservation of the endangered fish.

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