April 2007

Officials Working To Restore Native Fish In Verde River

By Mary E. Young
Author Of  Arizona Waterways

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department officials met with the public in Prescott recently to discuss plans to eliminate non-native fish in Stillman Lake near the Verde River headwaters.

According to Shaula Hedwell of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Renovating Stillman Lake would benefit native fishes in the Upper Verde River by eliminating non-native predators and allowing razorback suckers and roundtail chub to grow into a larger size until they’re able to disperse downstream during flood events.”

The two agencies have explored various options for restoring the native fish population and have potentially settled on introducing a toxin to kill off the non-natives. Before using the toxin, natives would be captured and stocked elsewhere.
The toxin would then be neutralized before native fish are re-stocked. The complete study can be viewed at fws.gov/southwest/es/Arizona.

Stillman Lake is near Paulden, north of Prescott and is about a quarter mile downstream of Sullivan Dam. It is created by a sediment berm at the confluence of the Verde River and Granite Creek and is fed by a complex of springs.

“The department has worked cooperatively with over 50 partners to develop a statewide conservation agreement for the roundtail chub,” said David Weedman, aquatic habitat coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.