By Steven Bonifazi
(FORT COLLINS, Colo.) Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will operate a non-native fish removal project from Sept. 13 through Sept. 17 in the Williams Gulch area.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will temporarily close the area to all uses so that the project can take place. A small portion of CPW's Bliss State Wildlife Area and Williams Gulch will be impacted in addition to having restricted use, according to CPW.
The project is being conducted to reintroduce greenback cutthroat trout to Williams Gulch which is located on the Roosevelt National Forest in Larimer County. The greenback cutthroat trout is Colorado's State Fish and is currently listed as "Threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.
Williams Gulch was initially stocked with cutthroat trout in 1996, but the trout were not pure greenback cutthroat trout that are native to the South Platte River basin. All other cutthroat trout that are currently in the stream population have to be removed in order for the re-establishment of pure greenbacks to be successful.
The USFS will keep the area around Williams Gulch closed for the health and safety of the public while the project is active. The project area involves parts of Forest System Roads 319 (Green Ridge Road) and 177 (Green Ridge Cutoff) which will all be closed to all uses.
Pure greenback cutthroat trout will be stocked once the fish are all successfully removed from the stream. The project will ultimately result in 2.5 miles of new greenback cutthroat trout habitat.
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