Foresters offer free fire program

The Colorado State Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service will conduct a two-part program to inform locals about being wise about fire danger in the Yampa Valley.

Forest Service spokeswoman Denise Germann said the program is part of the National Fire Plan, which was a funded mandate passed down by the federal government to increase fire suppression, prevention and education.

The first part of the program is at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Forest Service Office in Steamboat Springs and includes local firefighters.

The second part of the program is at 9 a.m. Friday and will involve planners, real estate agents, insurance agents, county commissioners and City Council members, according to the State Forest Service.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting and should RSVP at 879-0475.

Dam laws impact lakes and ponds

The Colorado Wildlife Commission recently revised regulations that require ponds, lakes and reservoirs in the Colorado River Drainage to have dikes or screens. The action is an attempt to prevent exotic fish from escaping into the river where they could prey on endangered native fish species.

All waters at less than 6,500 feet elevation in the Colorado River basin are covered by the new regulations.

The goal is to prevent exotic fish such as bass, bluegills, crappie and grass carp from escaping and preying on such native Colorado River fish as the humpback chub, razorback sucker, bonytail chub and pikeminnow. Colorado is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect remaining populations of these native fish, restore and enhance existing habitat and raise more fish in federal and state hatcheries to restock the species into their native waters.

The regulations require that dikes on ponds, lakes and reservoirs within the 50-year flood plain be at least five feet above the ordinary high water line and engineered to withstand a 50-year flood. If a screen is required to keep fish from escaping from a pond or reservoir, the gap size on the screen must not exceed one-quarter inch.

The regulation becomes effective May 1.

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