Snooks Bottom ponds built for endangered native species

These are some of the 22 grow-out ponds for endangered native river fishes built recently by the Bureur of Reclamation at Snooks Bottom south of Fruita.

All those slick new ponds at Snooks Bottom aren’t for you; they are nurseries for endangered native river fishes.

There are 22 of what are called “grow-out ponds” (self-explanatory, right?) built by the Bureau of Reclamation at the Horsethief Canyon Native Fish Facility south of Fruita.

The ponds were built as part of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program and the San Juan Basin Recovery Implementation program.

The project cost $5.3 million and the ponds were built by Kissner General Contractors Inc. of Cedaredge.

The ponds, lined with a seepage-resistant membrane and ranging in size from 0.1-acre to 0.5-acre, soon will hold and raise endangered razorback suckers, Colorado pikeminnow and “potentially bonytail and humpback chub,” said Justyn Hock, spokesman for the Bureau of Reclamation.

“The construction was funded by the recovery programs,” Hock said in a prepared statement. “In the following months Reclamation will complete mitigation and revegetate the site.”

Fifth- and sixth-grade ski pass deals return: Colorado Ski Country USA again this year is offering its popular Fifth and Sixth Grade Passport Program. The program is aimed at increasing youth participation in snow sports by giving all fifth-graders free access, and sixth-graders discounted access, to all 20 Ski Country USA member resorts.

The programs allows fifth-graders three days of free skiing or riding while for $99 sixth-graders can get four days of skiing at each resort, less than $1.25 a day.

New this year, the Passport program will offer “never-ever” fifth-graders free lessons and equipment rentals during January, Ski Country’s official Learn to Ski month.

Register for the Passport Programs online at

Boat inspection hours changed at Blue Mesa Reservoir: If you’re headed to Blue Mesa Reservoir before the big freeze hits, inspection stations at the three Blue Mesa boat ramps — Iola, Lake Fork and Elk Creek — beginning Sept. 4 will be open 6:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. Those hours change Oct. 1 to 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

The Iola ramp will close Oct. 31. Elk Creek and Lake Fork will remain open until the water at the ramps freezes. Boaters are reminded ANS inspections are required in the winter as well as summer.

Updates and changes are posted online at and by calling the Elk Creek Visitor Center at 
970-641-2337, ext. 205.

New boating safety video: Just in time for the boating-busy Labor Day weekend, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering a boating safety video.

In the video, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Boating Safety Program Manager Kris Wahlers explains how to boat safe, boat smart and boat sober and the importance of wearing a life jacket.

“Last year, nine people drowned in Colorado boating accidents, and five of them weren’t wearing life jackets,” Wahlers said. “A lot of people believe they can swim their way out of the water, but the cold water temperatures here can cause shock and hypothermia. Always buckle up.”

The video is available on the agency’s boating safety webpage:


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