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‘State of the fish’ talk is Wednesday

Cliff Thompson

It’s been a decade and one-half since the Eagle River ran orange with acid and metals-polluted mine water that killed everything that swims in a seven mile stretch below Gilman.

It took nearly a decade and $70 million to clean it up, and the question on everyone’s mind: How effective has the cleanup been?

That’s the topic of John Woodling’s address Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion: “Is the Eagle River Clean Enough?”

Woodling is a fish biologist who evaluated the health of the river through the fish surveys conducted on the river over the last 15 years. He retired from the state Division of Wildlife and now is a contractor on the river project for the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

What the surveys show is the fish and aquatic bug population has increases significantly since the mine spilled it untreated tailings into the river.

But the river’s sculpin minnow population, an important forage fish for trout, hasn’t completely recovered, studies show.

The presentation is part of the Eagle River Watershed’s Council’s Waterwise Wednesday series. This meeting will replace the meeting scheduled for April 7.

Pizza and refreshments will be served and a $5 donation is suggested.

For more information call the Watershed Council at 827-5406.

SIDEBAR

Volunteers needed

to catch, release fish

By Cliff Thompson

Daily Staff Writer

Volunteers are needed to wade the Eagle River to net, measure and release fish.

It’s part of the annual fish shocking survey that helps determine the health of the Eagle River. Eight representative stretches of the river will be “shocked,” from Arrowhead to Red Cliff. The stunned fish are released after being weighed, measured and examined.

If you’re experienced in wading the river, and can donate time Thursday and Friday, April 1-2, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., call the Eagle River Watershed Council at 827-5406.

Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at: cthompson@vaildaily.com or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.


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