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Colorado's public lands are faced with new challenges but water and land management depend on working together. Read about the relationship between water and land in Colorado and how Coloradans are converging to restore Colorado's public lands in the Spring 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine.

Browse articles and find a flipbook of the magazine here.

Connecting the Drops

connectingdropslogo4.1Bringing you the reporting you crave over the radio airways with extras and archives on our website. Visit the audio archives or listen to the latest story on the connection between Colorado's forests, watersheds, and forest fires:

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Water Education Colorado

Alamosa Hatchery Specializes in Rare Species

By Kevin Darst

This summer marks the fifth year Colorado's Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility has been breeding and releasing threatened and endangered fish into the state's rivers and streams. Opened in 2000, this facility run by the Colorado Division of Wildlife aims to recover native fish and other aquatic species, including toads, snails and mollusks, to self-sustaining populations in the wild.

The facility just outside Alamosa raises 10 fish species and one amphibian—the boreal toad—listed by the state as threatened or endangered. The six-person staff also works closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program to raise two federally-listed species—the Colorado pikeminnow and bonytail chub.

The Division of Wildlife, Colorado Water Conservation Board and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) funded construction of the $6 million facility, the only one of its kind in the country. While traditional hatcheries require raceways (large circulating pools) and cool water to raise trout and other game species, this operation focuses on creating the warm and often silty water conditions common to many Colorado rivers.

Manager Dave Schnoor notes that so far his staff has successfully bred all but one of the species under their charge. The plains minnow, a short-lived fish that requires muddy flood waters to spawn, has been particularly difficult. ‘The challenge is to figure out the trigger mechanism that gets them to lay eggs, says Schnoor.’

While continuing ecosystem stresses ensure that Schnoor won't work himself out of a job anytime soon, he says the facility's success raising endangered fish also helps ensure that Coloradans won't be asked to drastically change how they use and consume water. ❑

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