Alex Cabrero, Deseret News
Flow tubes are open and water is released Wednesday, May 4, 2011 from Flaming Gorge Dam.

FLAMING GORGE — The Bureau of Reclamation will begin increasing releases from Flaming Gorge Dam this weekend as part of a cooperative experimental program to benefit endangered razorback sucker in the Green River below the Dam. 

Critical nursery habitat for endangered fish exists in the floodplains along the Green River downstream of the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers. The nursery habitat connects to the Green River at flows at or above 8,300 cfs, which is the targeted flow this year with the dry hydrology.

The bureau, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, is implementing experimental releases this year in an effort to time increased releases while larval endangered fish are present in the Green River.

Larval detection has occurred and the bureau is increasing releases at Flaming Gorge Dam to combine with Yampa River flows and provide the highest flows possible to transport larval fish into the nursery habitat.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has been consulted concerning the impacts of the releases to the rainbow trout fishery below the dam. While releases during this period will make fishing the river more difficult, no adverse impacts to the fishery are expected.