CPW Says Meeting About Elkhead not Secret, Just Boring

ELK-HEAD-MAIN-SIGNColorado Parks and Wildlife is ensuring the public they will not hold secret meetings about the fate of Elkhead Reservoir. It was reported this week that a plan was being developed to drain Elkhead Reservoir and poison the water to prevent non-native fish, such as Small Mouth Bass and Northern Pike from entering the Yampa River. The idea would be to kill all the fish in the reservoir, and then restock it with non-natives that don’t threaten the native fish of the river. Those would include Large Mouth Bass, Blue Gill, and Croppie. The fish being protected are the Humpback Chub, the Bony-Tail Chub, the Colorado Pikeminnow, and the Razor Back Sucker. CPW Senior Aquatics Biologist for the Northwest Region Sherman Hebein says his agency is taking the lead on the discussion of the project. He says draining and poisoning the lake is not something they take lightly. In fact he says the plan is nowhere close to being implemented. He said they are in the process now of determining water rights and needs, which could conflict with the project. Tri-state Generation and Transmission and the City of Craig are two of the biggest water rights holders. He says that’s a big part of what will be discussed at their September 5th meeting at Tri-State. He said that meeting is not closed, but he doesn’t think most folks would be interested, due to the technical issues that will be discussed. When asked how long it would take Elkhead to recover fully from a drain and poison project such as the one being considered, Hebein said that while fishing could take place a year after completion, it would take no more than 5-years for the lake’s fish population to fully recover.

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