|Abstract:||Notable progress was made in 2007 toward the development of native fish facilities in the Lower Colorado River Basin. More than a dozen facilities are, or soon will be, online to benefit native fish. When this study began in 2005 no self-supporting communities of either bonytail or razorback sucker existed. Razorback suckers were removed from Rock Tank in 1997 and the communities at High Levee Pond had been compromised by largemouth bass in 2004. This project reversed that trend with the establishment of the Davis Cove native fish community in 2005. Bonytail and razorback sucker successfully produced young in Davis Cove in 2006. Bonytail successfully produced young in Parker Dam Pond in 2007, representing the first successful sanctuary established solely for bonytail. This past year, Three Fingers Lake received 135 large razorback suckers, and Federal and State agencies have agreed to develop a cooperative management approach dedicating a portion of that lake toward grow-out and (or) the establishment of another sanctuary. Two ponds at River‘s Edge Golf Course in Needles, California, were renovated in June and soon will be stocked with bonytail. Similar activities are taking place at Mohave Community College, Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course, Cibola High Levee Pond, Office Cove, Emerald Canyon Golf Course, and Bulkhead Cove. Recruitment can be expected as fish become sexually mature at these facilities. Flood-plain facilities have the potential to support 6,000 adult razorback suckers and nearly 20,000 bonytail if native fish management is aggressively pursued.
This sanctuary project has assisted agencies in developing 15 native fish communities by identifying specific resource objectives for those sites, listing and prioritizing research opportunities and needs, and strategizing on management approaches through the use of resource-management plans. Such documents have been developed for Davis Cove, Cibola High Levee Pond, Parker Dam Pond, and Three Fingers Lake. We anticipate similar documents will be developed in the near future for River‘s Edge Golf Course Ponds, Office Cove, Emerald Canyon Golf Course Ponds, Bulkhead Cove, Mohave Community College, and Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course ponds as these facilities come on line or are developed in the future.
The following report discusses the process that went into the development of these facilities. Sites were visited, assessed as to their suitability based on the control of nonnative predators, habitat suitability, conversion cost, logistics, geographical location, and willingness of landowners. They were then prioritized according to their suitability, cost, timely conversion, and willingness of landowners. Existing native fish facilities were included in this evaluation for their value in helping to determine physical and biological parameter ranges. This report describes the approaches that led to success, those leading to failure, and some of the biological, institutional, and management issues of implementing native fish sanctuary development.