State Teams Up With Noble Energy On Reservoir Rehab Project
KREX News Room
BATTLEMENT MESA, Colo.- The state of Colorado has teamed up with Noble Energy to wrap up a 13-year project rehabilitating a series of reservoirs atop the Battlement Mesa.
In the late 1800s, seven reservoirs were originally constructed for irrigation. However, in 1983 the third reservoir breached during high spring runoff, causing significant damage downstream.
Since then, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has worked with its partners, including the Colorado Conservation Board, U.S. Forest Service, Grand Valley Anglers of Colorado Trout Unlimited, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Noble Energy to recreate a natural habitat for the Colorado cutthroat trout in the third reservoir.
"Cutthroat trout are a protected native species in Colorado, so certainly when we can provide suitable habitat to perpetuate these fish in Colorado, it's always a good thing," said Mike Porras with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
On Tuesday morning Colorado Parks and Wildlife experts released 20 cutthroat trout into reservoirs one and three on the Mesa.
The total cost of the rehabilitation project was $375,150.
Noble Energy contributed $150,000, which was just under half of the project funding. The wildlife mitigation funding was used so Noble could explore areas without offsetting the cutthroat's natural habitat.
"This is an example of a socially responsible energy company. They understand the value of preserving wildlife habitat. They understand the values of these reservoirs. At the same time they understand, that we understand, their exploration efforts are very important to the state of Colorado," said Porras.
"There are natural gas leases here in the Battlement Mesa area and a lot of it is on federal land. In order to get those developed we work with the Forest Service and federal groups to come up with mitigation plans," said Jim Schwarz, spokesperson for Noble Energy.
Wildlife experts say they expect the fish to flourish because they are the only species of fish currently living in the reservoir.
It is legal to fish for the cutthroats despite them being a "species of special concern" in Colorado.