Elkhead Reservoir net to be installed Friday | CraigDailyPress.com

Elkhead Reservoir net to be installed Friday

Elkhead Reservoir in Moffat County is a popular warm-water fishery but the small mouth bass and northern pike that make it so attractive to anglers are a major threat to endangered native species.
Patrick Kelly

A special $1.2 million net is being installed at Elkhead Reservoir’s spillway on Friday.

The goal is to stop nonnative fish that eat endangered fish from spilling into the Yampa River.

The installation of the net is part of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s effort to protect the endangered Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker and bonytail as a member of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program.

According to a news release from CPW, “the presence of aggressive nonnative fish — primarily smallmouth bass and northern pike in Colorado River basin waters — continues to be a major impediment to the recovery of the four endangered native fish.”

The 600-foot long net will extend to a depth of 25 feet and be attached to the bottom of the reservoir with anchors to create a complete seal across the reservoir’s spillway and prevent predatory nonnatives from escaping into the Yampa River.

The net is estimated at to be functional for 15 to 20 years.

“It is considered the most effective method of stemming large-scale escapement of nonnative fish from the reservoir, giving officials time to implement a more permanent solution,” according to CPW.

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