Proposal would kill, then restock fish in Long Draw

BY TREVOR HUGHES  March 26, 2009

Federal officials are proposing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to poison invasive fish and then restock streams with native trout above Long Draw Reservoir and in parts of Rocky Mountain National Park as part of plans to keep the reservoir open.

The 10,800-acre-foot reservoir, about 50 miles up the Poudre Canyon, supplies water to Front Range cities, including Greeley and Thornton, and to Fort Collins-area farmers.

Trout Unlimited in 2004 sued the U.S. Forest Service, which permits the reservoir, to force changes. Trout Unlimited argued the reservoir was harming fish and other wildlife downstream.

In response, the Forest Service is proposing mitigation efforts known as Alternative 3 that include killing all fish in sections of area streams and creeks, then replacing them with the threatened greenback cutthroat trout.

The Forest Service released a draft environmental impact statement about a year ago and has now issued a final statement, with a formal decision expected within the next few months.