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New fish ladder will improve ecosystem at Watson Lake, CPW says

Watson Lake fish ladder
Posted at 10:35 AM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 12:35:57-04

BELLVUE, Colo. — You’ve probably heard Albert Einstein's saying, "Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” And while that may be true, the tables have somewhat flipped because fish at Watson Lake are now using ladders.

On Wednesday morning, Colorado Parks and Wildlife hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of the fish ladder at Watson Lake.

These are not actual ladders, of course, but rather slide-like contraptions that will help reconnect a fragmented section of the Poudre River. This area contains important spawning habitat and deep pools that can provide refuge for the fish.

This project was made possible by CPW, along with funding partners noosa yoghurt, Northern Water, Morning Fresh Dairy, Poudre Heritage Alliance and Trout Unlimited. The group said they hope this will be one of many ladders along the river that will allow fish to travel upstream and downstream, which will improve the health of the ecosystem.

This fish ladder will help the following species:
· Longnose dace
· Longnose suckers
· White suckers
· Brown trout
· Rainbow trout

“This project will improve river connectivity and benefit the aquatic resources by allowing fish to move freely back upstream as they wish,” said CPW Aquatic Biologist Kyle Battige. “Outside of the benefits to aquatic life, this project is important as it showcases the feasibility of fish passage at these large diversion structures and will hopefully further momentum for these types of projects. It also serves as an example of the collaboration and team effort from multiple entities that these large-scale conservation projects will have to have in order to be successful in today’s world.”