Magazine highlights recovery efforts in Grand Valley of endangered fish

A key part of the federal endangered river fish recovery program is highlighted this month in a national fisheries magazine.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Colorado River Fish Project Office in Grand Junction is featured in a four-page, full-color spread in the spring 2010 issue of Eddies magazine, a quarterly publication of the Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation.

The article explains the role of the project office in monitoring, breeding and stocking endangered river fish including razorback suckers, pikeminnow, humpback chub and bonytail.

The focus of the article, however, is the razorback sucker and the recovery program developed with the help of private landowners and their backyard ponds and gravel pits.

Written and illustrated by fisheries biologist Rick Smaniotto, the story talks about the 12 or so ponds, called “grow-out ponds,” peppered across the Grand Valley to nurture populations of razorback suckers.

Smaniotto could not be contacted for this story.

The ponds are described as a “rather motley assortment of old abandoned gravel pits, swimming holes and farm ponds scattered” from Palisade to Fruita.

“The ponds are as varied as the people who offered up their use,” Smaniotto wrote.

Why are these ponds important to recovering endangered fish?

Smaniotto explained that fish raised in these ponds and subsequently stocked in the Colorado River “are a success story that owes as much to the tenacious and resilient razorback sucker as it does to the eclectic mix of pond-owner conservationists.”

Eddies magazine is a free publication both as a printed magazine and at http://www.fws.gov/eddies/.


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