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Wildlife Commission to meet PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

Final approval of the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s five-year review of the state’s fishing regulations, along with regulations to minimize the spread of invasive crayfish and final adoption of 2011 turkey seasons and license numbers top the agenda for the Colorado Wildlife Commission’s Nov. 12 meeting in Yuma.

Commissioners will meet 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12 at the Quintech Center in Yuma. Members of the public who are interested in Colorado wildlife are encouraged to attend.

At the meeting, commissioners will be asked to finalize the five-year review for the DOW’s fishing regulations, which incorporate more than 30 proposed changes to fishing rules at bodies of water around the state. Most of the changes are minor adjustments to reduce confusion, change size limits or alter acceptable tackle.

However, to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species, the regulations concerning the capture, use and transport of baitfish and crayfish as bait will be modified.

“Sometimes the larger five-year reviews can be contentious,” explained Greg Gerlich, manager of aquatic resources for the Division of Wildlife. “This time, we convened angler roundtable meetings across the state, put options for revised regulations on our website and spent a considerable amount of time meeting with various angler interest groups and individuals to address their concerns.”

The change in the crayfish regulation would make it a violation for anyone to transport live crayfish anywhere in the Yampa River Basin. The regulation seeks to limit the spread of rusty crayfish, an aggressive, invasive species that threatens other crayfish populations, aquatic vegetation and fish.

This replaces an emergency ban that went into effect on April 10. Rusty crayfish were discovered in the Yampa River near Steamboat in 2009 prompting the emergency temporary closure.

In recent weeks, Division biologists have also confirmed rusty crayfish in Sanchez Reservoir in southern Colorado.

Sanchez Reservoir was just placed under an emergency order prohibiting live crayfish movement. For more information about rusty crayfish, stopping the spread of invasive species, and to read the emergency closure orders, see http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/InvasiveSpecies/RustyCrayfish.htm.

Commissioners are also scheduled to take final action to establish turkey license numbers for the 2011 spring and fall seasons and consider other turkey hunting regulations. Turkey hunters could see more over-the-counter turkey licenses in areas east of Interstate 25 under the proposed regulations.

“Turkey populations are doing very well in eastern Colorado,” said Ed Gorman, small game manager for the Division of Wildlife. “Not only are numbers increasing, but turkeys are expanding their range into areas where they did not occur as recently as five years ago. This has created new opportunities for sportsmen.”

According to the International Hunter Education Association, turkey hunting is the fastest growing form of hunting in the United States. Colorado is home to two subspecies of wild turkey: Merriam’s turkey, found mostly west of Interstate 25; and Rio Grande turkey, found mostly east of I-25 and in the San Luis Valley.

The Wildlife Commission meets monthly and travels to communities around the state to facilitate public participation in its processes. So far in 2010, the Commission has met in Denver, Glenwood Springs, Pueblo, Durango, Gunnison, Granby, Craig and Las Animas. The Yuma meeting will provide residents of northeastern Colorado the chance to participate in person.

Members of the public who are unable to attend Commission meetings and workshops can listen to the proceedings through a link on the DOW’s website. This opportunity is provided to keep constituents better informed about the development of regulations by the Commission and how they and DOW staff are resolving issues facing Colorado’s wildlife.

To access the live audio feed during the meeting, click on the “listen to live audio” link at the bottom of the “Wildlife Commission” webpage at http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeCommission.

The complete agenda for the November Wildlife Commission workshop is located on the “Wildlife Commission” webpage at http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/9258CCC8-C2DB-4C29-B29D-6505AC037901/0/November2010WCFinalAgenda.pdf.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission is an 11-member board appointed by the governor. The Wildlife Commission sets Division of Wildlife regulations and policies for hunting, fishing, watchable wildlife, nongame, threatened and endangered species. The Commission also oversees Division of Wildlife land purchases and property regulations.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to http://wildlife.state.co.us.