Long Draw Reservoir Decision Promotes Native Fish Recovery

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Date: May 4, 2011
Contact: Kyle Patterson, (970) 586-1363

The National Park Service has approved a "Record of Decision" associated with the Long Draw Reservoir Special Use Authorization issued by the US Forest Service to Water Supply and Storage Company of Fort Collins, Colorado. Long Draw Reservoir is located on National Forest System land, and Water Supply and Storage Company needs the reservoir to provide water for irrigation in Larimer and Weld counties. The reservoir is located approximately 35 air miles west of Fort Collins, in Larimer County.

This decision is being made in conjunction with the Forest Service's decision to apply terms and conditions to the 30-year authorization for Long Draw Reservoir and is necessary for the Forest Service to implement the selected alternative. The National Park Service, as a cooperating agency, is approving implementation of native greenback cutthroat trout restoration in the headwaters of the Cache la Poudre River within Rocky Mountain National Park by the Forest Service, Water Supply and Storage Company, and their project partners, with oversight provided by the National Park Service. In addition to the activities associated with implementation of the terms and conditions for the Long Draw reservoir authorization, the National Park Service will implement native fish restoration in Cascade Creek.

The Forest Service is the lead agency for this project because Long Draw Reservoir is on National Forest System lands. The National Park Service is a cooperating agency on this project because impacts from the operations of Long Draw Reservoir affect lands within Rocky Mountain National Park, which is managed by the National Park Service, and the alternative selected for implementation proposes actions within the park. Greenback cutthroat trout restoration was identified by both agencies as the preferred alternative and the environmentally preferred alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The alternative selected by the National Park Service includes the construction of natural-appearing fish barriers on several Cache la Poudre headwater streams, the removal of non-native fish above the barriers and stocking the streams with native greenback cutthroat trout. The barriers are needed to keep non-native fish from invading the restored cutthroat habitat.

Eventually the man-made barriers will be removed and the cutthroat habitat will form one interconnected system above a natural waterfall on the main stem of the Cache la Poudre River. The interconnection of habitat will create what biologists call a "metapopulation" of greenback cutthroat trout. It is anticipated that it could take 20 years to establish the metapopulation.

The Record of Decision includes a description of the background of the project; a statement of the decision made including key actions and mitigating measures/monitoring to minimize environmental harm; the basis for the decision; an overview of public involvement and agency consultation in the decision-making process; a description of other alternatives considered; a description of the environmentally preferred alternative; and a findings on impairment of park resources and values.

For further information about the decision including a copy of the record of decision, visit the National Park Service website https://parkplanning.nps.gov/romo, or call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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