Greenback Cutthroat Recovery Program October 2018

On October 4, the Forest Service hosted a meeting for a group of interested community members, fly fishers and environmentalists at the Winter Park Pub. Those attending learned about current efforts to restore Colorado’s native cutthroat trout. The presentation by U.S. Forest Service Fisheries Biologist Matt Fairchild followed by an opportunity to ask questions and socialize with other fish and river enthusiasts.

The overall goal is to create a metapopulation of greenback cutthroat trout across approximately 37 miles of stream habitat and 106 acres of lake habitat in northcentral Colorado. To achieve this goal, 54 miles of connected streams will need to be treated to recover the 37 miles of greenback habitat.

Implementation is starting this year in Grand County and restoration work will be phased over 15 years, including designing, enhancing or constructing two permanent and three temporary non-native fish barriers; removing non-native fish such and brook and brown trout that compete for food and habitat; and stocking native lineage fish, protecting the habitat until isolated native populations have established.

Work is beginning with surveys and the construction of a fish barrier in Grand Ditch, and the application of piscicide in Parika Lake and Baker Gulch to remove non-native species. A portion of the work is being funded through a $1.25 million trust established following a negotiated settlement agreement between the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and Water Supply and Storage Company. Colorado Trout Unlimited is serving as the trustee. These projects will help create a stable, isolated population of Colorado’s threatened state fish – once thought to be extinct.