Bipartisan bill to help protect four endangered fish species native to the Upper Colorado and San Juan Rivers now heads to a full vote in the Senate
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Mitt Romney’s bipartisan Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins Recovery Act passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The bill would continue protecting four threatened and endangered native fish species in the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins. It extends conservation programs for one year to give Upper Basin communities time to develop a long-term management plan. The bill next heads to a vote on the Senate floor.
“We just took another step to protect our native fish and the Upper Colorado and San Juan River ecosystems,” said Hickenlooper, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “This bill is a model for how communities, states, tribes, water users, and Congress can work together to protect our environment. Let’s get it done!”
“I’m proud to team up with my colleague from Colorado to support Utah’s efforts to continue the recovery of the threatened and endangered fish species in the Upper Colorado and San Juan Rivers,” said Senator Romney. “I appreciate the Committee’s consideration of this legislation—which represents an example of what successfully recovering endangered species looks like—and I am hopeful we will get it across the finish line soon.”
“Right now, record-breaking heat waves are surging across the western United States, propelling already unprecedented drought conditions to worsen. The Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins Recovery Act will ensure that investments in this region can continue, amidst ongoing challenges. I am grateful to Senator Hickenlooper for his urgency in passing our bill through the Senate and look forward to working together to champion its final passage.” said Congressman Neguse.
Specifically the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins Recovery Act would:
- Extend programs which currently study, monitor, and stock the four endangered fish species, manage habitat and river flows, and combat invasive species.
- Authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to continue funding and implementing the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Recovery Programs for one extra year, through 2024. The programs are currently set to expire on September 30, 2023.
- Extend the Department of Interior’s reporting deadline by one year, to September 2022. Reporting includes program accomplishments, funds spent, and projected expenditures.
- Create the ability to transfer funds from San Juan Basin to Upper Colorado Recovery programs by shifting capital cost ceilings, keeping the total cost constant.
Full bill text is available HERE. Congressman Joe Neguse introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives in August 2021, and the House passed the legislation in March 2022.