November 17, 2021

Neguse Bill to Protect Wildlife and Advance Local Water Projects Passes Committee

The legislation protects critically endangered species in the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins

Read bill text HERE.

Washington D.C.— Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed Congressman Joe Neguse’s bill to protect wildlife in the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins and preserve critical water infrastructure projects. The Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins Recovery Act was introduced earlier this year by Congressman Neguse, the Chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands and would protect 14 endangered fish species in the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basin and allow critical water infrastructure projects to continue.

“In the West, unprecedented drought and climate-induced wildfires have drawn great urgency to the way we steward and protect our water resources,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Our Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins Recovery Act will ensure that critical water infrastructure projects can continue while protecting endangered species in these River Basins. I’m thrilled to see the bill pass Committee today, and look forward to bringing it to the House floor soon.”

The bill is also cosponsored by Representatives Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), and Chris Stewart (R-UT). The bill is supported by the Colorado Water Congress, Colorado Springs Utilities, Aurora Water, City of Farmington, NM, City of Greeley, Dolores Water Conservancy District, San Juan Water Commission, Southwestern Water Conservation District, Utah Water Users Association, Grand Valley Water Users Association, Tri-County Water Conservancy District, Denver Water, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Central Utah Water Conservancy District, Tri-State, Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District, and others. Read letters of support here. 

In 2019, Congressman Neguse enacted similar legislation into law to reauthorize the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program, a program that protects wildlife in the Platte River Basin and coordinates with local water development.

Background: 

The Upper Colorado River Basin is home to 14 native fish species, including the endangered humpback chub, bonytail, Colorado pikeminnow, and razorback sucker. These endangered fish are found only in the Colorado River system.

The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program was first established in 1988 to help bring four species of endangered fish back from the brink of extinction: the humpback chub, bonytail, Colorado pikeminnow, and razorback sucker. The Recovery Program is a unique partnership of local, state, and federal agencies, water and power interests, and environmental groups working to recover endangered fish in the Upper Colorado River Basin while water development proceeds in accordance with federal and state laws and interstate compacts.