Public forum to discuss Colorado River environmental projects
Environmental projects associated with the lower Colorado River will be discussed during a meeting this week of the Colorado River Citizens Forum.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Yuma County Development Services' Aldrich Hall, 2351 W. 26th St.
The forum was established by the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission to facilitate the exchange of information between the public and the commission.
Russell Engel from the Arizona Game and Fish Department will discuss the history, management and water flow through Mittry Lake Wildlife Area.
The area was created in 1951 through the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act when the Arizona Game and Fish Department leased the area from the U.S. Department of the Interior to benefit fish and wildlife and to provide compatible recreational opportunities. The area encompasses approximately 3,500 acres, of which about 440 acres is open water.
The Mittry Lake Wildlife Area is currently managed jointly by AGFD, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation for fish and wildlife, recreation and resources, and water control. Approximately 12 cubic feet per second of water continually flows through the area via an inlet channel from the Colorado River and an outlet weir back to the Colorado River.
In other business, John Swett with the Bureau of Reclamation will give an update on the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program. The program is a multi-stakeholder partnership that seeks to balance the use of Colorado River water resources with the conservation of native species and their habitats in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. The project area extends over 400 miles of the lower Colorado River from the Grand Canyon to the international boundary with Mexico.
The goals of the LCR MSCP are to conserve habitat and work toward the recovery of currently listed threatened and endangered species while reducing the likelihood of additional listings; accommodate current water diversions and power production; optimize future water and power development; and provide the basis of incidental take authorizations through the implementation of a Habitat Conservation Plan.
The HCP lists conservation measures for 26 covered species and five evaluation species. This 50-year program is currently in its seventh year of implementation. To date, more than 2,200 acres of new habitat has been established and more than 200,000 native fish have been raised and stocked.
Three conservation areas are located within 30 miles of Yuma, including the Hunters Hole Conservation Area, Laguna Division Conservation Area and Imperial Ponds Conservation Area. They range in size from 36 acres to approximately 1,200 acres and have been designed to provide a variety of habitat for native fish and wildlife. Swett will provide an update on each of them.
For more information about the meeting, the public can call 782-1598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.