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Nature & Wildlife
2015 September
Pg 10 - The Sunshine Express
Breathtaking To Behold
Five days of events celebrating
the region¡¯s magnificent
Greater Sandhill Cranes
Steamboat Springs, CO: The fourth annual
Yampa Valley Crane Festival takes place in
Steamboat Springs and Hayden, CO from Sep-
tember 10-14, featuring guided crane viewing,
talks by crane experts, a live raptor experience,
films, children and family activities, photogra-
phy and journaling workshops, and more.
Highlights of the festival include talks given by
top crane experts and an intimate gallery gath-
ering with nature photographer John Fielder,
featuring his acclaimed images of crane habitat
along the Yampa River. HawkQuest will have an
educational booth set up for festival attendees
to visit with live raptors throughout the week-
The festival¡¯s keynote speaker is Paul Tebbel, a
crane biologist and former director of the Rowe
Sanctuary, presenting ¡°The Private Lives of
Sandhill Cranes¡± on Saturday. He will be joined
for talks by Van Graham, the retired Colorado
Parks & Wildlife biologist who helped to develop
Colorado¡¯s Greater Sandhill Crane recovery
plan; Birding magazine editor and field guide
author Ted Floyd; and The Nature Conservancy
conservation biologist Chris Pague, speaking
during a community barbecue at the historic
Carpenter Ranch.
¡°The Yampa Valley in early autumn is stunning,
and Sandhill Cranes at any time of year are
breathtaking to behold. I can¡¯t wait to enjoy the
beautiful birds, evocative scenery, and wonder-
ful human company at this year¡¯s crane festi-
val!¡± says Ted Floyd, who will be leading birding
Project Aims To Restore Rio Grande
Cutthroat Trout In Mineral County
MONTE VISTA, CO: In August, Colorado Parks and
Wildlife began a major project to restore native
Rio Grande cutthroat trout in the upper San Luis
The Rio Grande cutthroat is one of the three
subspecies of cutthroat trout that live in Colorado.
Populations of the Rio Grande cutthroat have de-
clined dramatically because of loss of habitat, and
competition from and hybridization with non-na-
tive trout. Today it occupies only about 12 percent
of its historic range area. In October 2014, the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that a
formal listing of the Rio Grande cutthroat under
the Endangered Species Act was not warranted.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working coopera-
tively with the state of New Mexico, the Mescalero
and Jicarilla Apache nations, the Taos Pueblo,
the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest
Service and the National Park Service to build and
restore Rio Grande cutthroat populations across
their historic native range.
The project will take place on eight miles of Roar-
ing Fork Creek, located about 10 miles south
of Creede in Mineral County. The creek will be
treated with Rotenone, an organic piscicide which
will kill the non-native brook trout in the stream.
Rotenone has been used for years throughout the
world to control invasive fish species. It poses no
harm to humans, terrestrial animals or birds, and
breaks down quickly in the environment. The Ro-
tenone will be detoxified using potassium perman-
ganate to ensure fish are not killed out-
side of the intended treatment area.
Native trout will eventually be stocked in
the stream, possibly late in the summer of
Part of the project will take place within
the Weminuche Wilderness Area. Hikers
in the area might see discolored water
during the treatment period. Dyes in the
Rotenone and the decontamination agent
are green- and rust-colored.
For more information about Rio Grande
cutthroat trout, go to:
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying pri-
marily on license sales, state parks fees
and registration fees to support its opera-
tions including 42 state parks covering
more than 220,000 acres, big-game man-
agement, hunting, fishing, wildlife watch-
ing, camping, motorized and non-motor-
ized trails, boating and outdoor education.
CPW¡¯s work contributes approximately six
billion dollars in total economic impact an-
nually throughout Colorado.
For more news about Colorado Parks and
Wildlife go to:
Bringing Back The Natives
walks and delivering a featured talk during
the Yampa Valley Crane Festival.
Additional festival highlights include edu-
cational displays, guided bird walks in the
Yampa Valley¡¯s magnificent settings, birding
by pontoon boat at Stagecoach State Park, a
community barbecue at the historic Carpen-
ter Ranch, a ranch tour of a ¡°crane-friendly¡±
agricultural operation, a guided nature hike
on the Steamboat Ski Area and a sketch-a-
bird session that includes live raptors.
Greater Sandhill Cranes are an iconic spe-
cies of the Yampa Valley and Northwest Col-
orado. For years, a group of bird and nature
enthusiasts gathered each fall at a small
ranch near Hayden, Colorado, to watch adult
and young cranes forage for food, dance in
the fields, and practice flying in anticipation
of their grand migration south to warmer
wintering territory. The sights and sounds of
these spectacular birds on their fall staging
ground in the Yampa Valley led to dreams
about an event for locals and tourist to
come together to learn about this popula-
tion of cranes and celebrate their presence
in Northwest Colorado. The Colorado Crane
Conservation Coalition, Inc. turned the
dream into a reality.
¡°It was a great honor and an enormous
pleasure in 2012 to participate in the first
Yampa Valley Crane Festival. By reaching
out to the general public and the resulting
positive responses from the latter, the crane
festival organizers are helping to protect
cranes and their habitat. All of this is great
fodder for celebration!¡± says International
Crane Foundation Co-founder and Senior
Conservationist George Archibald.
Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition
(CCCC) is dedicated to the conservation
and protection of Greater Sandhill Cranes
in Colorado. Yampa Valley Crane Festival
is presented by the CCCC, with help from
partners including the Bud Werner Memo-
rial Library, The Nature Conservancy, Yampa
Valley Land Trust, Colorado Parks and Wild-
life, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., USDA
Forest Service, Yampatika, Steamboat in the
Summertime and many other local busi-
nesses and organizations.
Lodging reservations for the festival can be made
Yampa Valley Crane Festival¡¯s daily schedule of
festival events can be found at:
Image: Gerhard Assenmacher
Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Image: USFWS