BLM Colorado

BLM Colorado

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

BLM-CO Biologist Recognized for Effort to Benefit Native Fish Restoration

BLM COLORADO
BLM-CO Biologist Recognized for Effort to Benefit Native Fish Restoration

Story by David Boyd, Public Affairs Specialist. Photos by BLM.

BLM Colorado Northwest District Fisheries Biologist Tom Fresques was recently recognized by his professional peers across the region for his work to streamline the approvals of native fish restoration projects on streams passing through BLM-administered lands.

The Colorado/Wyoming Chapter of the American Fisheries Society awarded Tom the "Max Rollefson Award of Merit" at their annual meeting in Grand Junction on February 23, 2017. He was recognized for his lead effort in completing a programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) addressing fish reclamation projects statewide.

BLM Colorado Fisheries and Riparian Program Lead presents Tom Fresques with the Max Rollefson Award of Merit.
BLM Colorado Fisheries and Riparian Program Lead presents Tom Fresques with the Max Rollefson Award of Merit.

BLM Colorado has been working closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) for years to restore native fish populations. Until this PEA was completed, field offices needed to complete a separate EA for each specific project that CPW was considering. Now, field offices in Colorado can tier to this PEA, greatly streamlining the approval process, which should lead to more projects being completed.

"It was humbling to be recognized by such a great group of biologists," Tom said. "This was a very cooperative team effort that involved my peers in the other districts, the NEPA coordinators from each district, and the district managers. This effort should help ensure more native fish populations can be restored."

"Tom's efforts have resulted in a streamlined protocol that is being implemented in the fisheries program across the Bureau," said Jay Thompson, BLM Colorado Fisheries and Riparian Program Lead.

Tom Fresques measures the length of a native cutthroat trout before returning the fish safely to the stream.
Tom Fresques measures the length of a native cutthroat trout before returning the fish safely to the stream.

In June 2016, Tom's PEA was distributed nationally by the Washington Office fisheries program lead.  To simplify the process and encourage other states to pursue a similar approach, Tom prepared a briefing paper that includes recommendations on how to produce a similar PEA in other states. 

The PEA is available on e-planning at https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=renderDefaultPlanOrProjectSite&projectId=46450&dctmId=0b0003e880837e42