Native Fish Rearing and Release In 2019, students from the St. Vrain Valley Innovation Center and Lyons Middle High School began rearing the Northern Redbelly Dace in the classroom. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility in Alamosa provided forty adult fish for the fish spawning. Over the summer, the adult fish spawned seven times, resulting in over 1,000 fry. In September of 2020, Ocean First Institute facilitated the release of these new fish into Rooney pond in Lyons. Today, efforts are underway to rear additional fish to be released into the native fish nursery at Pella Crossing. Through this process, students are able to experience the field of conservation first-hand, cultivating environmental stewardship within the upcoming generation.
Native Fish Habitat Assessment and Monitoring In order to ensure the success of the released species into native habitats, it is necessary to conduct extensive habitat monitoring, and in some cases, restoration of release sites. This process includes ecological engineering of suitable habitat, removal of invasive or predatory species, and comprehensive water quality testing. Through this process, students are able to work alongside professionals to gain valuable insight into environmental management, as well as hands-on skills in environmental monitoring and evaluation.
Native Fish Monitoring and Telemetry The goal of the Northern Redbelly Dace Recovery Project is to expand the range of the dace in the Front Range. To do so, it is important to ensure habitat connectivity for natural migration and movement of re-introduced populations. For this project, students will help analyze the effectiveness of fish-passage structures that have been installed along key navigational corridors using two tracking methods: (1) PIT tagging and radio tracking, and (2) environmental DNA sampling. Although Northern Redbelly Dace are not yet present in the St. Vrain Creek, this project will help lay the groundwork for understanding movement along the fish passages, providing Boulder County Parks and Open Space with the information they need to better help local native fish populations. Native species play an important role in wetland ecosystem health and we hope to develop a substantial body of evidence to support the environmental and economic benefits of investing resources into conservation and recovery efforts.
Northern Redbelly Dace Recovery Project A collaborative species conservation partnership Email: firstname.lastname@example.org