Press Releases

Hickenlooper Bill to Extend Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Programs

Jun 7, 2023

Legislation follows Hickenlooper’s one year extension that passed into law last Congress

Programs help protect four endangered fish species native to the Upper Colorado and San Juan Rivers

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper announced his intent to introduce a bill extending the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program and San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program for 15 years. The programs currently protect four threatened and endangered native fish species in the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins. The bill builds on the success of Hickenlooper’s Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins Recovery Act, which provided a one year extension for the programs and passed into law with the annual budget last December.

The fish recovery programs are widely celebrated success stories in the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins. In November 2021, the Fish and Wildlife Service downlisted the humpback chub from “endangered” to “threatened” thanks to the recovery programs. 

“Tribes, communities, water users, the Upper Basin States, and Congress, came together to make these programs a runaway success,” said Hickenlooper, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “But we’re not done yet. This bill will make sure we cement our wins.” 

Specifically the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins Recovery Act would:

  • Extend the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Recovery Programs, which currently study, monitor, and stock the four threatened and endangered fish species, manage habitat and river flows, and combat invasive species.
  • Authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to continue funding and implementing programs for 15 years, through 2038. The programs are currently set to expire on September 30, 2024.
  • Add up $100 million to the authorization ceiling for capital projects, which will fund infrastructure improvements that benefit fish habitat over the next 15 years.
  • Continue the partnership-based approach that enables states and non-federal partners to provide matching funds to meet shared species recovery goals.

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