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Chemical treatment scheduled to take place at Duck Fork Reservoir

The Division of Wildlife Resources is currently releasing water from Duck Fork Reservoir to lower the pool as much as possible, prior to the second round of chemical treatment.

The reservoir was treated the first time last fall to remove all trout. Following the second treatment, the DWR will plant fingerling tiger trout and pure strain Colorado River cutthroat trout.

The tiger trout will provide a sport fish for angler harvest, while the transplanted Colorado River cutthroat trout will be preserved to reduce the likelihood of being listed as threatened or endangered.

The Colorado River strain is the only true native trout in the Colorado River Basin. If this strain were listed under the threatened and endangered species act, traditional fishing and stocking could change dramatically.

Fishing regulations would have to assure the well-being of the Colorado River cutthroat to prevent contamination of the gene pool and intentional or accidental harvest. This might entail mandatory catch-and-release, and artificial fly-only restrictions.

The DWR hopes to thwart listing of the subspecies by developing Duck Fork Reservoir as a brood stock rearing pond, where both fish and eggs can be harvested by hatcheries for restocking drainages and lakes in the Colorado River Basin where the aboriginal strain has disappeared or may be scarce. However, before Duck Fork could be used for this purpose, the DWR had to remove all trout which could possibly hybridize with the true native strain and thereby contaminate the gene pool.

The wildlife division has received questions from concerned citizens who question why Duck Fork Reservoir needs to be treated a second time.

Biologists who have been involved in chemical removal projects for decades have learned that it is very difficult to kill all the fish with one treatment.

Small brook trout can stick their heads into small springs and get enough fresh water to survive. Two treatments of Duck Fork will provide greater certainty that all the brook trout are gone.

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