Bennet, Gardner, Hatch, Heinrich, and Udall Introduce Legislation to Protect Endangered Species in Upper Colorado River

Washington D.C. - U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (d-CO), along with Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Tom Udall (D-NM), today introduced the Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act of 2017. The legislation will continue to fund the Upper Colorado and San Juan fish recovery programs through FY2023 and aims to protect four primary endangered species in the Upper Colorado River Basin.

"The Endangered Fish Recovery Programs are exemplary of the successful, collaborative conservation championed in the West by states, tribes, federal agencies, and other stakeholders," said Bennet. "This bipartisan bill provides the resources to continue recovery efforts in the Upper Colorado River and to ensure that these endangered fish species are protected for years to come."

"Protecting endangered species living in Colorado's natural habitat can be done in a responsible manner, and I'm proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation," said Gardner. "Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program is a great example of a partnership between federal, state, and local agencies to promote conservation. It's important we provide adequate resources to this project to ensure our partners on the ground have the necessary tools to protect these endangered species."

"I'm happy to join my Western colleagues-including Utah's newly elected Representative John Curtis-in introducing this commonsense legislation. Our bipartisan bill builds on the successful conservation efforts on the Upper Colorado River, encouraging the federal government to work in cooperation with Western states," said Hatch. "This proposal will help guide the sustainable usage of our water resources in a way that fosters both species recovery and responsible development."

"The San Juan and Upper Colorado River Fish Recovery Programs are vital to rebuilding our native fish populations that are an important part of our state's heritage," said Heinrich. "We cannot allow these important conservation programs to lapse and threaten the progress we've made up to this point. This bipartisan legislation will ensure federal, state and local agencies have the resources they need to continue protecting endangered species in the Upper Colorado River Basin."

"The San Juan River Basin is an important region in New Mexico's ecology, and I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation to continue the collaborative efforts to help protect the area's endangered species," said Udall. "The most successful way we can balance the needs of water security with species conservation is to work collaboratively with local, state, Tribal, federal and non-governmental partners to find solutions. This initiative has been an excellent example of how we can conserve natural habitats by working together."

Representative John Curtis (UT-3) introduced the House companion legislation.