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Our Local Bear Creek is making news

05/23/12 at 06:29 AM

People are trashing the habitat of a genetically pure school of greenback cutthroat trout south of Pikes Peak, say conservation groups trying to reduce the pressures on this group of imperiled state fish.

State-backed scientists still are unraveling the lineage of the fish and say long-lost yellowfin cutthroats also may have survived in Bear Creek, about 5 miles southwest of Colorado Springs.

But motorcyclists, hikers, homeless campers and partyers increasingly flock to the fragile slopes and rutted old trails. The problem is that tires and boots accelerate erosion, funneling gravel and dirt into Bear Creek, suffocating cutthroats' eggs and clogging the pools that fish need to breed, the conservation groups say.

A lawsuit has been threatened, because greenbacks are a federally protected species.

Colorado Springs Utilities and the U.S. Forest Service are the responsible land managers — and have refused to discuss the damage.

Read more:Environmental groups fight erosion of greenback cutthroat trout habitat - The Denver Post
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