Draft plan to be unveiled Tuesday


Gerry Roehm of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will present details of a plan to manage the survival of threatened native fish species at a 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday at Centennial Hall.

Roehm will be seeking reactions to a published draft "environmental assessment" that could have much to do with the future of the Colorado pike minnow, razorback sucker, humpback chub and bonytail.

The fish are native to the Yampa, Green and Colorado rivers, but water projects and predation by nonnative species have reduced their numbers over time.

The Fish and Wildlife Service attracted 25 people to a meeting April 25 in Steamboat to talk about plans for an experiment intended to scientifically measure the effects of predation on the native species by fish such as northern pike and smallmouth bass.

Tuesday's meeting is on related but separate subjects. Roehm is expected to talk about a cooperative agreement between Colorado and Wyoming regarding management of the fish.

"The purpose of the meetings is to provide the community with detailed information about the plan and environmental assessment," Roehm said. "The EA is not final and the public still has an opportunity to provide comments before it is completed."

The management plan will provide options for managing non-native fish populations in the Yampa, which is needed in order to recover the endangered fish.

Tuesday's meeting also will address the role a proposed enlargement of Elkhead Reservoir could play in the recovery of the endangered fish.

Similar meetings are being held this week in Craig and Baggs, Wyo.

The draft EA is available online at www.mountain-prairie.fws.gov/fisheries/yampaea.htm. There is a copy on file for public review at the reference desk of the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat.

Written comments on the management plan and EA may be sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mountain-Prairie Region, 124 Union Blvd., Lakewood, CO 80228. They must be postmarked by Aug. 31.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com


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