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Virgin River Program

Virgin River Program

Arizona Game and Fish Department

Arizona Game and Fish Department

Kingman, AZ -( The Arizona Game and Fish Department, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Virgin River Program will conduct a fish management project using rotenone in the Virgin River Gorge in southwest Utah and northwest Arizona to remove invasive red shiner and restore habitat in the Virgin River for native fishes.

The treatment is scheduled to begin the week of June 9, but depending on river flows and weather, may be delayed for an additional week. During the treatment, access will be restricted to the project area.

Access will be restricted to the Cedar Pocket campground June 15-22. Virgin River Program partners are working on the project to ensure continued water delivery to the cities of St. George, Utah, Mesquite, Nev., Beaver Dam, Ariz., and to the surrounding areas.

The implementation of this project will meet recovery goals for the endangered woundfin, one of the rarest species of fish in the southwest. Woundfin are threatened by red shiner, a non-native bait fish that thrives in the project area’s 17-mile stretch of the river between Utah’s State Line Fish Barrier and Arizona’s Virgin River Gorge Fish Barrier. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission reviewed the project’s environmental impact documentation and approved implementation of the project.

During the week of June 9, motorists along Interstate 15 and residents in nearby towns in Arizona and Nevada might notice the Virgin River colored red from a non-toxic, biodegradable dye. Arizona Game and Fish biologists will conduct a temporary dye flow test of the Virgin River to determine the flow rate of the river through the treatment area. The dye might also be used during the treatment week of June 16 to aid rotenone applicators.

Prior to the rotenone treatment, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and partners from the Virgin River Program will salvage native fish from the treatment reach and move them to safe refuge habitats and holding facilities. The remaining fish will be eradicated within the reach, targeting the invasive red shiner, which has moved up from Lake Mead into the upper watershed of the Virgin River.

Rotenone use is regulated by several state and federal laws and is registered for use to remove undesirable fish by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There are no known side effects to humans, birds, or other mammals when rotenone is used according to the product label. Potassium permanganate, a water purifier, will be used to deactivate the rotenone once the treatment is complete. Water may be temporarily discolored by the permanganate in the Virgin River Gorge.

About The Arizona Game and Fish Department

The Arizona Game and Fish Department mission is to conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and manage for safe, compatible outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations.

About the Virgin River Program

The Virgin River Program is a collaborative effort between local, state, and federal partners to balance human interests along the Virgin River with the conservation of this unique ecosystem for future generations. The goals of the Program are to Implement actions to recover, conserve, enhance and protect native species in the Virgin River Basin and enhance the ability to provide adequate water supplies for sustaining human needs. The scope of the Program is broad, including species recovery, water management, floodplain protection, restoration, and community outreach.

About the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR)

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is part of the Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In addition to managing and protecting Utah’s wildlife, we manage hunting and fishing opportunities within the state.

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